On song

Updated: Apr 14, 2020, 09:52 IST | Prachi Sibal | Mumbai

Director Maya Mascarenhas on how a 100-plus choir of mostly children has been spreading cheer the virtual way

A screenshot of the choir's performance, featuring 135 singers
A screenshot of the choir's performance, featuring 135 singers

Earlier this month, we were all in for a treat with a video doing the rounds on social media. As many as 135 participants (all children but one) of a choir sang in unison for hope and peace on what looked like the Zoom app. This was the Bangalore Chorus, a four-year-old outfit that hosts a performance (or two) each year to raise funds for charitable organisations that work with children. "The idea is by the children, for the children," says Maya Mascarenhas, the director of Bangalore Chorus.

Mascarenhas, who is a doctor by profession, knew that a physical concert may not be possible this year. And even though this time of the year isn't a regular part of their rehearsal calendar owing to exams, she wanted to find a way to engage the children. "I had seen a virtual performance by The Pub Choir in Australia, and wondered if we could record one, too," she says.

Bangalore Chorus raises funds for charitable trusts
Bangalore Chorus raises funds for charitable trusts

The Zoom app wasn't feasible since the time lag disrupted sync in sound, and so she took on the task of guiding children through recording their own videos. "I sent out a learning video of myself singing the song and instructions on how these videos needed to be done," she says. "Basically, they needed to listen to me using headphones and use a separate device to record," she adds. The medley included songs like Hum hongey kamyaab and Peace unto all.

The result was 134 videos from members (kids aged four to 18) and one grandparent who wanted to try it, too. "It was also a unique opportunity for children to focus on their own voices and expressions, something that is easily hidden in a large group," Mascarenhas explains. The videos were then edited to create a film, a process that took around a week's time.

Director Maya Mascarenhas
Director Maya Mascarenhas

The video went viral, and Mascarenhas is now hard at work producing a second one. "This time it will be one about friendship; the kind that can exists between any two people and provides comfort during difficult times," she says.

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