Virtuosi of Performing Arts Raises Money for the Lilli Curry Memorial Fund


By Sanchali Basu

HOUSTON: What a wonderful way to pay tribute to a lively and charismatic sophomore at Taylor High School who passed away on August 4, after fighting a hard battle with Ewing Sarcoma, an extremely rare bone cancer found mostly in children and young adults. Lilli Curry has left a lasting impact on her school since then.  


Although millions of dollars are raised each year for cancer research, less than 4% goes towards childhood cancer research despite being the number one cause for death in children.. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) says there has been a significant increase in the overall rate of childhood cancers in recent decades—up to 27% since 1975 in kids under age 19, and the FDA has approved only three drugs to treat childhood cancer in the last 20 years. This is all due to lack of funding. Keeping this in mind, an extraordinary and unique fundraiser event was hosted on November 4, at Old Stafford Center by Virtuosi Performing Arts in Lilli Curry’s memory. 


The evening started with an introduction of Lilli Curry, acknowledgement of her parents and her home bound teacher Cheryl Bell. The organizers of the show Satyajit and Keka Kar then took the stage and talked about the mission of the fundraiser and thanked their family, friends and well wishers for their support and specially Lilli’s parents for being present at the occasion.

The first part of the show was a captivating dance drama, ‘Fisherman and his soul’ based on a French story by Oscar Wilde. The performers in the lead roles were Taylor High School students and the theme of the drama was very uplifting. Through the drama, one comes to the realization that a man and his soul are inseparable and love lives on spiritually and eternally forever and ever.  Irena Wan’s portrayal of the soul is particularly worth mentioning. Most of the music put together by Satyajit and Keka Kar encompassed European, Latin, Arabic and Indian forms and was mesmerizing. Keka Kar deserves special recognition for directing the entire dance drama and choreographing some of the dance numbers.


Sunil Thakkar of Masala Radio fame got the crowd going with his funny Donald Trump impersonations and referral to the “The Fisherman” in the dance drama as “Mowgli in Mexico.” He also conversed with the individual performers and commended them on putting up a great performance.

The second half of the show belonged to ‘Kinjal’, a singing sensation, the winner of Zee Bangla Sa-Re-Ga Ma-Pa 2010. It was like a “homecoming” for him since he was in Houston to perform at the NABC 2015 last year. Houstonians fell in love with this young versatile singer when he first visited a couple of years back and have kept inviting him over and over again. He once again did ample justice to the high expectations by delivering music of all genres. In his words, “Performing music is like being a chef – catering to all tastes.” He stuck to the “theme of love” with a range of songs from the 60s to the present and then branched off to Rajasthani Mand (Thumri in folk style) with equal ease and expertise. His rendition of “Ek chatur naar” from Padosan was a major hit with the audience. He even had the confidence to sing a Kalaam sung originally by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and ghazals sung by Jagjit Singh. He ended on a high note with a striking medley of Bollywood dance numbers that got the audience dancing to the late hours of the night.

The crowd of approximately 700 was successful in raising about $5000 which got donated to the Lilli Curry Memorial Fund and thanks to the organizers for putting a thoughtful, convincing program together.