After a fantastic and intense two months of competing with India’s best singers on Rising Star 2 on Colors TV, a national level singing competition, and finishing off at India’s Top 8, the Harmony Chorus directed by Sandra Oberoi embarked on a grand concert tour to Russia! This is the first international event for the choir.
18th May, 2018: Sixteen children, aged between 10 years to 15 years, were selected to be a part of this prestigious undertaking, the first of it’s kind for any children’s choir from India! The Harmony Chorus performed at The Embassy of India in Moscow on the 18th of May to an audience of Indians and Russians associated with the Embassy, children from schools supported by the Embassy of India and faculty members. The choir and their director entertained the audience for an hour singing some Western classical repertoire including sacred works, some Musical Theatre hit’s, and everyone’s favourite – Bollywood medley’s arranged by Sandra Oberoi. The event was much appreciated and the audience praised the choir’s versatility including the instrumental music performed by choir members.
19th May, 2018: On 19th May, the Harmony Chorus opened the evening of music at Gnessin Russian Academy of Musicin, Moscow, one of Russia’s top music academy second only to the Moscow Conservatory. The event was in collaboration with Radost Children’s Choir School (now the Centre of Creative Development and Musical-Aesthetic Education for Children and Young People) with three Radost Children’s Choir’s performing excerpts from Rimsky-Korsakov’s ‘The Snow Maiden’. Here, the Harmony chorus performed some Indian folk music and Bollywood music to an admiring and cheering audience of over 800 music lovers.
20th May, 2018: The Cathedral of Christ the Savior is the largest Russian Orthodox Cathedral. It was indeed a privilege for The Harmony Chorus to perform at this historic and awe-inspiring venue as part of the grand culmination to a year long celebration of choral and solo music from across Russia, the EU and surrounding areas. It was a grand celebration with a few prominent choirs including the award winning Kazan Choir performing that evening. The Harmony Chorus directed by Sandra Oberoi was the only choir from India invited to perform Western classical sacred music at this spectacular event. Several children’s choirs from around Moscow were seated in the audience and rose a few times to perform with a few children’s choirs on stage. It was a magical evening of song! The Harmony Chorus received a performance diploma for their contribution to perpetuating the choral art.
22nd May, 2018: The last performance in Russia was held at Gatchina Music School, a premier music academy serving the residents of Gatchina near Saint Petersburg. At this concert, The Harmony Chorus were the special guests and opened the evening with a mixed collection of music by English composer Rutter, Swedish composer Edenroth, American composer Trotta, and choral arrangements by Sandra Oberoi. The Gatchina children’s choirs also performed a short set of wonderful Russian folk music. Past students of The Gatchina Music School who have now formed The Youth Choir Harmony ended the evening with Russian folk songs, Gershwin’s Summertime and a few high-energy choral showcases. The evening ended with a ‘fusrhet’ – time of eating pies and celebrating through games and songs. Language did not prove to be a barrier when it came to having fun singing some Russian folk music, learning some dance and playing a few Russian games together. The children of all the choirs mingled together beautifully.
Apart from singing, The Harmony Chorus had the opportunity of visiting the Kremlin, The Hermitage (Winter Palace), Tretyakov Gallery, Gatchina Palace and Gardens, watched the world famous Mariinsky ballet troupe perform A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the historic Mariinsky Theatre, saw a concert of Mozart’s opera La clemenza di Tito, witnessed the Russian Circus and even managed a boat ride on the Moskva River and a Moscow Metro Tour!
Director Sandra Oberoi said:
“It was a very memorable experience for my choir and truly an honour for them to be a part of such prestigious events! Even the Russians consider it a big deal to be invited to perform at the festivals and venues we sang at, so I’m truly grateful how things worked out for us. I have been to Russia last year for performances and to teach at choral workshops. This time was different, where we could showcase the music that I’ve have been working on with the children. I’ve always encouraged my choir to pursue excellence and aim higher, to be versatile and appreciate music from around the world. It’s because of this attitude that we could stand up on those stages, sing our heart’s out and gain respect and appreciation for our music.“
The choir members are all students at Harmony – The Music School founded by Sandra Oberoi about ten years ago. A few students from the music school who sang with The Harmony Chorus in the past are now pursuing music degrees at Oxford University, Temple University, National University of Singapore, Berklee College of Music and London College of Music. The Harmony Chorus has previously sung at music festivals in Shillong and Hyderabad, performed at the lighting of the World Peace Flame, sung at the opening of the Children’s Paralympics, and performed at numerous events in the city of Bangalore.
Through their singing, the choir supports the education of underprivileged children by giving to a program E.D.U.C.A.T.E. (Empowering Deserving Underprivileged Children Actively Through Education), have raised funds and awareness for children living with AIDS and mentally and physically challenged abandoned girl children. They have bought an ambulance for an old age home and regularly perform at such homes and orphanages.