Thyagaraja Aradhana Celebrated at HTW

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By Priya Subramaniyam
THE WOODLANDS: The Hindu Temple of the Woodlands (HTW) hosted their second annual Thyagaraja Aradhana Music Festival on Saturday, February 22. The festival received a very enthusiastic response from participants from all over Houston, including Sugar Land and Pearland.

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This year, the temple board, along with the members of The Woodlands Carnatic Music Group, organized the event and encouraged participants to offer musical homage, not only to Saint Thyagaraja, but also to other popular Indian classical composers such as Shri Purandaradasa and Saint Meerabai.
The program commenced with the lighting of the lamp by temple priest, MNC Bhattar. This was followed by a traditional group rendition of Saint Thyagaraja’s magnum opus creations, the Pancharathna Krithis-  Jagadanandakaraka and Endaromanhanubhavulu. The presence of some of Houston’s renowned musicians such as Rajeshwari Bhat (Vocal), Mahesh Iyer  (Violin), Geetha Jayaraman (Veena), Dexter Raghunanan (Tabla), and Aparna Ganti (Vocal) enhanced the overall beauty of this performance.
Although just a drop in the ocean of music composed by these great legends eons ago, individual and group performances that followed suit, included songs that reflected a multitude of moods, and were presented with great fervor. Participants included singers, dancers and instrumentalists from the Greater Houston area.
One of the highlights of this year’s festival was an exhibition by Govinda Radhe Childrens’ Music Group of The Woodlands, who delightfully recreated the life and times of the great composers. Displays included collages of the life of Thyagaraja, Purandaradasa and Meerabai, explanation of Thyagaraja’s Pancharathna Krithis, a model house of Thyagaraja, a comic strip to showcase Meerabai’s love for Krishna and also a PowerPoint presentation on Indian Classical Music.
Only in its second year of inception, the Thyagaraja Aradhana at the HTW is growing in popularity amongst music lovers in The Woodlands, Conroe, Spring, and Cypress areas.  About 250 people attended the event. A light dinner, entirely prepared by volunteers from The Woodlands, was served on the occasion.