The Stop-Gap Choral Ensemble, led by conductor Alfred J D’Souza, is expected to perform in Mumbai today. In commemoration of what is the choir’s 30th year of performance in the city, guests will be personally led to their seats by Santa Claus, provided his big sack of gifts does not come in the way.
“There will be classic Christmas compositions like O come, all ye faithful and Silent Night apart from modern compositions,” says D’Souza, adding that a CD of all his original compositions, based on Indian-motifs, about the festival will be sold at the concert. “The songs celebrate Christmas in a very Indian way. For instance, instead of candles and mistletoes, the songs talk about using diyas, rangolis and jasmine flowers as decorative items,” says D’Souza.
There might be a lot of talk of Christmas, carols and decorations, but there is no place for religion here, points out D’Souza. The choir group itself is made up of people from various religious communities, who juggle day jobs and rehearsals. They don’t even stick to one genre of music and, as D’Souza puts it, sing everything from Bach to the Beatles. “Team members don’t say ‘This is Christmas music so I won’t sing it’,” says D’Souza. By his own admission, rehearsals are hard, long and sometimes, grueling, especially a month before the concert.
What’s unique to the choral group is D’Souza’s unusual idea to mix to choir members while singing on stage. “Unlike other groups, I mix the sopranos, the bass and so on, as a result of which you get a total, wholesome sound from the group.” Two years ago, as part of an experiment, the group stepped out into the foyer at the Tata Theatre and sang Hallelujah at top of their lungs. The idea of singing at the acoustically sound auditorium worked it their favour beautifully. “The effect was mind-boggling,” remembers D’Souza, adding that guests this time can look forward to a repeat of the performance.
Coming back to the concert, the conductor explains that the audience can look forward to an evening of fun, festive cheer, music and some cool choreography.
And hopefully, a reason to be charitable. “In our tickets, we have encouraged the guests to bring gifts for the concert, which will be put in Santa’s gift sack and given off to children homes and under privileged children,” adds D’Souza.
When: December 14, 15, 6.30 pm
Where: NCPA, NCPA Marg, Nariman Point