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New England Tamil Sangam Celebrates Pongal 2011

Devi Sundaresan
02/27/2011

The New England Tamil Sangam celebrated Pongal Vizhaa 2011 (Harvest Festival) on Saturday, 12 Feb 2011 at Chelmsford High School in Chelmsford, MA. Over 1000 people attended this gala event – on a spring-like day with the weather providing timely relief, in the middle of our harsh winter.

NETS is a non-profit organization that promotes Tamil language and culture in the New England area since 1970s. The organization has about 600 registered members.  Among the four events that are organized by NETS every year, Pongal Vizhaa is usually the most popular event.
 
The program commenced with a Tamil Prayer Song (Tamil Thaai Vazhthu) followed by the welcome speech, presented by Mrs.Vidhya Kalyanaraman, President of the New England Tamil Sangam. There were about 40 different performances in Tamil. The youth emcees Naveena Shanmugam and Anu Pandian kept the entire evening alive with their energy and enthusiasm.

The first performance was a devotional group song on Lord Muruga, the Tamil God – a melodious start that set the tone for the rest of this colorful evening! This was followed by several dance performances, spanning the range from classical bharathanatyam, kuchupudi to innovatively choreographed fusion numbers and movie hits such as the latest “Endiran” songs.

Among singing performances were several group light classical and popular movie songs, with the audience cheerfully clapping and singing along. Each performer could feel the encouragement and excitement of the evening.  

The Tamil dramas performed by young children were particularly appealing. It was very encouraging to see the next generation speak their mother tongue.  Also, a big wow to all the adult performers!

Guests and performers alike were greeted with the wonderful aroma of freshly made samosas, masala vadai, donuts, tea and coffee. Following the cultural program a sumptuous Indian dinner was served, catered by Pongal Restaurant. Offering a welcome occasional break from the continuous entertainment were the sponsors’ stalls set up by local businesses and organizations supporting the event.

Kudos to the NETS committee members for pulling off such a major event successfully despite their often hectic professional lives!



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