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Capital City Minstrels’ tunes warm chilly Delhi

THE ASIAN AGE. | STUTEE KOTNALA
Published : Dec 19, 2016, 10:01 pm IST
Updated : Dec 19, 2016, 10:01 pm IST

The Capital City Minstrels have performed more than 200 concerts at prestigious venues in India and in Europe.

The choir celebrates the festive season with Christmas music from around the world.
 The choir celebrates the festive season with Christmas music from around the world.

Christmas is upon us, and to keep us warm with the festive spirit in this winter chill, we had the Capital City Minstrels, which performed a series of concerts from December 13 to 17, in Delhi and Gurgaon, showcasing Christmas music from around the world at some of the city's most popular concert venues, cathedrals and a private concert for the President of India.

The choir celebrates the festive season with Christmas music from around the world. There is the opulence of And the Glory of the Lord, composed by George Frederic Handel, the first chorus of his glorious Messiah, written in 1741, which is still performed across the world, especially around Christmas. Heinrich Schütz’s Chorus of the Angels from The Christmas Story is a rich arrangement sung in German, while Franz Gruber’s Silent Night will tease the audience with a different rendition of arguably the most well-known Christmas carol. The robust Worship the King by Billy Smiley and Bill George, contrasts with Kent Newbury's haunting For We Have Seen His Star. Felix Bernard’s cheery Winter Wonderland and the energetic Gotta Whisper Gotta Shout by Victor Johnson, all feature in this Christmas journey across the world.

The Capital City Minstrels was set up in 1994 and is now in its 22nd year. The Delhi-based group is comprised of people of all ages and nationalities, from all walks of life — university students, professionals, corporate executives and embassy personnel. Over these two decades The Capital City Minstrels have performed more than 200 concerts at prestigious venues in India and in Europe. Entertaining audiences from Kashmir to Budapest, and from Goa to Berlin, their repertoire spans a wide range: from the earliest choral music to the entire spectrum of western classical music, folk songs, Broadway musicals, rock, pop, jazz as well as Indian music.

The choir is conducted by Delhi-based musician, Sharmila Livingston, who was a choir member and also the  conductor of the Capital City Minstrels few years ago. And she finds this choir the most wonderful of all. What makes this unique is that the members of the choir are not professional singers. The CCM holds an audition before every season (it has two seasons — spring/summer and winter) and anybody can try out. Depending on the requirement of the choir, the people are selected who then need to commit their time for rehearsals and then for the concert. CCM’s spring/summer season has more popular and secular music while the winter season has more classical, Christmas and traditional songs.

Livingstone says that rehearsals are a strenuous process but it is “the zest and commitment of every individual is commendable”. An hour-long rehearsal maintains a delicate balance of voices — all leading to harmony. Livingstone insists that CCM has harmony. “Unison is one voice but one attains harmony when different voices come together to create a spectacular beauty of music,” elucidates Livingstone.

Apart from music, the choir’s aim is to send a universal message of peace and harmony. “We are living in a very difficult times and we need to frequently experience different slices of life,” says Livingstone.

The concerts set the tone for festive cheer and brought more warmth ahead of Christmas and New Year.

Tags: christmas