Lyrics inspired by the beef ban and feel, more rock ‘n’ roll than lilting, Christmas choirs are hitting new notes to stay relevant, and we’re loving it
The beef vs buff debate just flew out of television studios and into the church. The Victory Chorus Line, the parish choir of Our Lady of Victories Church, Mahim, is determined to keep it relevant this year. And what better way to connect with Catholic audiences than discuss a thorn in the flesh?
The Cathedral Singers from Holy Name Cathedral in Colaba
Choir conductor, Karen Vaswani, says, this year, they are mixing the political with the festive, with a lyrical spoof on the beef ban. "I wrote the lyrics and composed the music. The song envisages a vegetarian Christmas that will be a reality if all meats are banned in Mumbai," she says.
Angelic Voices performs at St John the Evangelist Church, Marol. Pic/Shadab Khan
With songs that carry a rock 'n' roll vibe, Vaswani says her choir is set apart by original compositions that carry a local twist. "Last year, I composed a song about wishes transferring to Facebook and Whatsapp. Whatever happened to the Christmas greeting card?"
Christopher Khan's Angelic Voices, a choir group that comprises kids from eight to 15 years, performed at St John the Evangelist Church grotto in Marol a few days ago. "I have introduced a rock 'n' roll feel to the songs to bring some difference to age old tracks," says Khan of the 40 member group. The St Cecilia Choir from Immaculate Conception (IC) parish in Borivali has picked Acapella, songs without musical accompaniment, that are the flavour of the season. Antonella Jiandani, choir conductor says, "We are singing a mix of new and old carols to make the songs relevant to the times. But we don't wish to stray too far from tradition."
The age of information has helped not only with inspiration during practice too. Mario Nazareth from Cathedral Choir, who sings at the Saturday evening mass at Holy Name Cathedral in Colaba, says, "Choir member schedules are now fixed on WhatsApp alone."
Kurt Schneider, Alex G and Alyson Stoner's I'll Think of You and a few of Pentatonix's Christmas songs have been adapted by Salvation Singers. Dylan D'souza, conductor of the musical ensemble of 35, says, "Of the 20 songs we sing, one is an action song. It helps break the monotony and makes things more fun for the audience, too."
For the audience, new age songs helps it connect with tradition easily. Patricia Fernandes, a Marine Lines resident, says, "This is a time to bond for the community and if that means singing carols that are socially relevant, especially for Gen Next, let the music play."