Surangan’s Annual Student Appreciation Day Blessed by Rezwana Chowdhury Bannya


By Sanchali Basu

HOUSTON: Although Surangan, Rupa Ghosh’s school of music has been around for 7 years, this was the 5th formal annual program celebrated on a grand scale at the HDBS Sur auditorium the evening of October 14. The record crowd bore ample evidence to the fact that not only has the school gained in the number of students, but also wide popularity especially in the Houston Bengali community.

After months of rigorous rehearsals, the students got to showcase their talent on a platform which boosted their confidence and brought the Surangan family closer. The young talents most of whom are born and brought up in the US did a commendable job of carrying the torch of Bengali culture and keeping the traditions alive, accomplishing the goal of Surangan. Emcee Sanchali Basu, welcomed the audience with a brief introduction of the school.


The first half of the program was entitled, “Andhakarer Utsho Hote” signifying the spreading of the mantra of being led from darkness to the light (Tamaso ma jyotirgamaya) of hope, peace and well being as expressed by poets, writers and philosophers over the ages.

The beacon and harbinger, Nobel laureate Tagore’s, “Nibido ghono aandhare jwalichhe dhrubotara” in Rupa’s mellifluous voice set the tone for the evening. A series of Rabindra Sangeet and Nazrul songs followed, to Biplab Samadder’s impeccable narration in his smooth, soothing, baritone voice. Solo and group songs, accompanied by Niranjan Roy and Barun Choudhury on the table, were interspersed with solo and group dances. The dancers ranged from considerably young artistes to more mature, skilled ones and brought some color and life to the music program. Recitation pieces in between, also solidified the entire program and was successful in bringing its essence to totality.

Once the students of the school had finished performing, guest artistes from the Houston Bengali community entertained the audience, including Kamalpriya, Swapan, Zulfikar, Ananya, Jharna, Prince, Anjali, Shonali, Biswaruchi, Nandini, Bina, Jitu, Runa, Rita, Mala, Bably, Banani, Kakon, Dina, Parvin, Bithi, Yasmin, Purno, Mina and Amit on vocals, Anirudha, Shouvik, Afsarun Nahar and Mukul on recitation.

This year’s annual program was made special by the presence of Bangladesh’s pride, renowned Rabindra Sangeet exponent Rezwana Chowdhury Bannya, who was the Chief Guest for the evening. She was called on stage to be felicitated by Surangan and the Houston Durga Bari Society. Certain other dignitaries including Elora Ahmed Shukla and Bulbul Sengupta were recognized, and so were Muna and Salahuddin Ahmad of organization Balaca, the first Bangladeshi cultural association in Houston. Certificate distribution ceremony to the students by Bannya ensued and she was sweet enough to pose with them for the camera.

By now the hall was filled to capacity and actually overflowing. The food corner, sari and jewelry stalls were doing brisk business and all were waiting with bated breath for the highlight of the evening. Bannya took the stage with Biplab Samadder on the violin, Rupa Ghosh on the keyboard, Bidyut Ghosh on the mandira and Raja Banga on the tabla. She enchanted the audience with her rendition of not so popular, but rich Rabindra Sangeet numbers mixing them up with some popular ones. What made her concert more captivating were the little tidbits of information that she was sharing regarding the background of each song. She recounted her memories with her stalwart gurus Kanika Bandyopadhyay, Santidev Ghosh amongst others, during her student days in Viswa Bharati, Santiniketan. Surangan deserves kudos for presenting yet another excellent program.