Student Appreciation Day by Surangan School of Music

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Photos: Apu

By Sanchali Basu

HOUSTON: Another year has rolled by and Surangan has grown in size, maturity and professionalism. Their annual student appreciation day was held at the Maharaja Banquet Hall on October 10 with tremendous enthusiasm and passion. The school in its 5th year dedicated to keeping the cultural heritage of Bengal alive among the immigrant and specially the 2nd generation Bengalis growing up in the US is surely keeping its promise.

The efforts of founder director Rupa Ghosh have definitely not gone in vain and got reflected in the outcome of the production and the unconditional outpouring of love from the students and others. The school trains students in the classical, semi classical, Rabindra and Nazrul songs, and has recently started a Skype based training program for some to accommodate their busy schedules. It also takes pride in conducting periodic workshops with eminent artists from Bangladesh, India and the US and participates in several live stage shows, some in collaboration with other performing cultural organizations of the diverse, vibrant city of Houston.

This year, another feather was added to their cap with the performance of  Tagore’s, “Jodi tor daak shune,” by a non Bengali student Sonia, proving once again that music surpasses the barrier of language. Rupa, started her musical training at the tender age of five under Sri Nirmalendu Chowdhury who was instrumental in bringing Bengali folk songs into the limelight in the sixties and seventies. She then trained in classical music and Rabindra Sangeet under renowned Gurus and has won several accolades throughout her singing career. She brought this passion along with her to Houston to enable the next generation to continue with the tradition and connect with their roots. An audio album of hers featuring 10 Tagore songs will be released soon.

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The evening started with a slide show of the Surangan school by Kiron, bringing back memories. Rupa thanked everyone with her welcome speech and Razu presented his slide show. The evening was very effectively guided by master of ceremonies Sriti. Group songs, recitations and solo songs by students ranging in age from 5 to adult all resonated sincerity and  diligent execution.

This year’s theme was to honor and pay tribute to the five great poets and composers of Bengal, Rabindranath Tagore, Atul Prasad Sen, Rajanikanta Sen, Dwijendralal Roy and Kazi Nazrul Islam. Befittingly they paid respect to the Pancha Kabi by representing compositions of all 5 poets. Bengal’s rich tradition in the field of poetry and music was very well portrayed.

Gronti, Priyanti, Purnata, Samien, Naiza, Shyon, Smita, Seeryn, Vanini, Sharoni, Puspita, Tinni, Dipika, Rafid, Dona, Sreya, Tithi, Sheena and Arun Islam were all very deserving in their own right in highlighting each of the 5 poets. What made it even more interesting was the picture slide of the artist that accompanied each individual’s performance. Rupa’s immense emphasis on perfect Bengali pronunciation and diction among the young budding next generation performers is highly remarkable and made the renditions more pleasant to the ears.

Raja Banga, director of the Prana School of Music, an eminent music school of Katy along with a few of his disciples delighted the audience with a Tabla concert. He, Biplab Samadder and Bidyut Ghosh on the tabla, violin and mandira respectively provided able accompaniment to all the vocal renditions. Appreciation certificates were handed out to students and the program ended with Rupa’s personal tribute to the 5 poets and cake cutting.

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