“The finale will witness all the choirs come together and perform,” says Alfred D’Souza, of Stop Gaps Choral Academy, who started this festival 29 years back. With such a large ensemble, D’Souza admits that coordinating does get difficult but it is completely worth the effort and this weekend people in the city will get to experience the Christmas fervour as these talented choirs present the choral tradition of Christmas music — old and new.
“This year, we have five choirs from outside the city. Coordinating and ensuring that things go as planned is a difficult task. So, we begin work nearly a year in advance. Once the festival gets over, we start working for the next,” reveals D’Souza.
However, practice sessions for the finale take place a week in advance with the choirs in the city. For choirs coming from outside the city, practice sessions are held on the day of the performance. “They are informed about it in advance so it falls into place. For the finale, we have a theme every year. This year’s theme is Christmas bonbons,” he informs us.
There are many choirs who apply to be part of the festival, but they have to go through auditions to be selected. “It is a platform where choirs get recognition. Hence many want to be a part of it,” he explains. The festival first started as a competition 29 years ago. “Four choirs participated in it,” adds D’Souza. Soon, it became popular and more and more choirs started participating. But from the 25th year, they converted it to a festival and not a competition.
Judah Vincent, whose choir, The Harmonics, is coming to Mumbai from Chennai is looking forward to it. “We have been a part of this festival for the last 12 years, and it’s an amazing way to celebrate the Christmas spirit,” he reasons.