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Children Showcased Talents At NETS Pongal Vizha 2008

Rama Sriram

Pongal, the ancient festival of the Tamils was celebrated with pomp and splendor, with about 100 kids displaying their vivid talents in fine arts at the New England Tamil Sangam's Pongal vizha 2008 held at the Littleton High School Auditorium, Littleton on Saturday, February 2nd. It was a 5 hour program in which around 600 people showed up and were thoroughly entertained by 40 different performances by the kids of the community.

 "We have grown tremendously in the past two years and with the dedicated committee members who have contributed their valuable time and efforts for the growth of this organization, we'll keep the momentum going", said Mr.Balaji Sathanandam, president of the organization. He also introduced the committee members who helped make this event a grand success, to the audience.
 The program included classical style Bharata Natyam and Kuchipudi dances, dance medleys, tap dance performance, dance dramas, folk song and folk dance, movie songs, Cine quiz, riddles, keyboard and violin performances, with the performers exhibiting the style, skills, enthusiasm and techniques. The evening began and ended with the songs in praise of the Tamil language.
There was a good response from the audience when the students of Shishu Bharathi challenged them with riddles and quiz from the Tamil movies. "I became a part of Shishu Bharathi in the year 1994-95 and started teaching Tamil to the students since then," said Dr.Uma Nellaiappan, Tamil language coordinator of the Lexington Shishu Bharathi center,MA. Talking about the play,"Vaikundathil Oru Naal", which she herself wrote and directed, she mentioned, "It's very difficult to make the students understand certain expressions in Tamil. But they cooperated very well and put in a lot of efforts to pronounce the words to the best they can."
The play highlighted the influence of technology on the younger generation with the students from Shishu Bharathi playing different characters from the Indian mythology. Dr.Uma Nellaiappan is also a part of the NETS who served as the emcee for the event along with Mrs.Poongothai Govindaraj.
Parents who were proud to see their children take the stage, commented that "participating in such cultural programs enable the kids to learn Tamil culture, especially  the importance of  celebrating festivals and they have fun since it gives them an opportunity to take off from their usual routine."
Mr.Pradeep Swaminathan, released his first music CD of "Vinayagar Agaval", a hymn in praise of Lord Vinayaga, written by the ancient poet Avvaiyar. An IT professional at the Kana Software, the singer and creator of this piece Mr.Pradeep has developed a software himself to get the "Bhava"(expression) in his composition. He said," I am thankful to Matt Boardman who introduced music recording to me and to G.Sathyaprasad who arranged and orchestrated this music piece for me." Mr.Pradeep contributed the proceeds from his CDs to NETS.
The association also provided a platform for Mr.Sreeni Chippada and Mrs.Radhika Chippada, followers of Dr.Manthena Raju's ways of "Natural Living," to share their experiences with people. The Chippadas said that they were impressed and benefited by Dr.Raju's ways and thus wanted to spread the message to the community. They offer free sessions at their residence at Lexington,MA to talk about Manthena's method of making right choice of food, importance of exercise, rest and water to the body and healthy recipes. They can be reached at chippada2005@yahoo.com
Mrs.Vidhya Kalyanaraman, treasurer of the New England Tamil Sangam offered the closing address and she thanked all those who were involved in making the event a grand success. She thanked the NETS committee members, youth members,emcees, volunteers, sponsors, participants and their families for all their help and support.
The program was well coordinated by Mr.Ramesh Venkatramani who worked diligently in organizing the music files from the participants and also helped arranging food for the event.
Dosa Temple Restaurant, of Ashland, MA, Kolava Market, of Westford, MA and Mysore Veggie Restaurant of Lowell, MA sponsored the event. Mysore Veggie Restaurant  also catered food for the event. "Thendral", a magazine for Tamils in North America, helped designing the program guide front page for the event.
The evening ended with Mr.Balaji Sathanandam, NETS president presenting trophies to all the participants who enthralled the audience by their dazzling performances. There were about 100 young shining stars on the stage with glowing faces.

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