“The true beauty of music is that it connects people. It carries a message, and we, the musicians, are the messengers.” – Roy Ayers
Music is the universal language which can spread love and hope across the globe. According to statistics, only 10 percent of USA’s population are musicians and the percentage probably dips further in other countries like ours, where only a tiny pocket of society gets formal training in music. So if music has to be shared, by way of teaching, to the masses, someone has to put in a lot of time and effort. We at The Majolly Music Trust are trying to do our bit of outreach. And as one of my favourite musicians, James Taylor has said, “I believe musicians have a duty, a responsibility to reach out, to share your love or pain with others.”
How it all began was that we decided to visit orphanages and old-age homes every 5th Saturday and do about an hour of music for them. We noticed that the children welcomed us with so much enthusiasm and those that really had an inborn inkling to music really showed it in their response to our music. Caretakers of these children also seemed to encourage their talent and interest in the little ways that they could. This further prompted us to think about how we could make an impact in this area. It was at this time that our director, Neecia Majolly came up with the idea of starting a choir for underprivileged children. With a little research of the Children’s home, we decided to concentrate on girls, several of whom are orphans and semi-orphans. Our vocal teacher helped us to identify Samantha Pais who has so willingly come forward to train the girls.
Samantha Pais is a professional singer, choral conductor, pianist and music educator. She comes from a family with a longstanding tradition of music and has been singing since the age of 4. She is the founder of August Music Productions and has a passion for music outreach. She also co-conducts the children’s choir at the Center for Music Education, Nava Jeeva Ashram.
In our first session, Samantha asked the girls if they had heard the song, ‘Doe a Deer’, or if they knew what ‘a scale’ was. The response was silence on both counts! We have started sessions twice a month on Thursdays. The plan is to organize a concert towards the end of the year. At present we have 25 girls getting trained. Samantha noticed that many of the girls had a natural bend to music and she is gearing up to trying out tougher pieces with them.
As a Trust, we aspire to identify more talent in India and train them as professional musicians. In good time, we hope to provide a home for them too! Our dream is to provide a symbiotic space that nurtures both orphans who are music students and aged and infirm musicians who need a home in their eventide years. This is because we agree with Louis Armstrong that ‘Musicians don’t retire’. These musicians have given to the society in their heyday and we feel that it is our duty to take care of them now. Right now we give them a monthly pension that helps take care of some of their basic needs.
We have begun a Concert series called, Concerts with a Cause. All proceeds from these concerts go towards our outreach programs. We are grateful to those musicians who have contributed their talent so far and we look forward to more and more talent from across the globe who feel led to make their mark in history by performing for this cause.
We move forward with confidence and hopes towards making this dream a reality because we know that “Imagination creates reality” (Richard Wagner).