Bandra’s 106-year-old housing society is ready for their annual open-air Christmas concert, where the star-studded line-up reveals its musical preparations
A moment from the society’s previous concert in 2022
Do you hear the Christmas bells ringing? It comes from Bandra’s 106-year-old The Salsette Catholic Co-operative Housing Society Ltd. (SCCHSL). It was founded in 1918 by Francis Anthony Cyril Rebello, the former accountant general of Bombay Presidency, and father of the co-operative movement for Catholics in West India. In keeping with the society’s aim to bring together and serve the community, SCCHSL will usher in the first Christmas seated music concert of the season that will be held this weekend at the D’Monte Park Recreation Centre lawns.
(From left) Marie Paul; Mimosa Pinto and Ella Atai
After an edition in 2021 titled Swinging with the Stars and a follow-up concert last year with the ongoing theme — Starry Starry Night, A Magical Christmas in the Park — this year’s concert brings in popular names curated by The Sassy Songbirds, an all-women’s harmony-based music group of Marie Paul, Ella Atai and Mimosa Almeida Pinto. Paul tells us, “We change the curation for each edition. This year, we opened it up to singers in the industry. We’ve got a mixed bag of ballads, rock and roll, blues, jazz and more, by solo performers, The band is put together by Mimosa, and compered by Shahriyar Atai who knows the pulse of the Bandra audience.”
Asif Ali Beg
But ask the multi-hyphenated artiste Shahriyar Atai about his preparations and the singer says, “I mostly play it by ear, and feed off the energy of the audience.” Atai continues, “Each edition, I bring in different Christmas characters. Last year, I was Rudolf, and this year, I am the green guy with a heart too small — the Grinch!” Returning to the stage this year, Atai will perform an original track sung as the Grinch. He will also put up a stall by his venture Bhonu Appetite, serving Parsi favourites with a twist.
Reiterating the line-up of the star-studded show, Atai adds, “The stars are going to be on the earth instead of the sky.” We know he’s referring to names including Asif Ali Beg, an artiste whose performance is anticipated with bated breath. Beg shares, “For me, Christmas isn’t about Santa and snowmen, I chose a medley of two songs that share the real story of Christmas. One is called Gabriel’s message, and the other is a traditional Irish song. I’m also adding a surprise jolly number to my performance.”
Beg tells us that he’s a fan of The Sassy Songbirds, but he’s not the only one. At an earlier show this year, Ella Atai’s stage entry and exit was met with an ovation and a few ‘We love you, Ella!’ cheers. For this concert, Atai remarks, “I’ll be singing This is Christmas, keeping sight of the true spirit of the season. It’s a song that centres on the birth of Jesus.” The show will end with a curtain call where every artiste will sing the concert’s anthem called A Christmas wish for you, composed by The Sassy Songbirds.
The SCCHSL continues to light up their streets during the festive season, fostering a sense of celebrating Christmas together. Secretary Cornel K Gonsalves shares that the festivities grew from there. Along with the concert, the society will hold an upcoming Christmas bazaar, housie night, and a January-end barbeque that has been running for over a decade. “This concert is our signature show. It’s a way to bring the community together,” Gonsalves concludes.
On: December 2; 7 pm onwards (gates open at 6.15 pm; first-come, first-serve basis).
At: DPRC Lawn, St Andrews Road, Bandra West.
Tickets Buy tickets at the DPRC office
Cost: Rs 475