Akrita Reyar Delhi has been enlivened by the delightful performances of Capital City Minstrels this Christmas season. The medley of over 50 vocalists – sopranos, altos, tenors and bass – derived from several nationalities has thrilled Delhiites with superb choral music.
Singing before a jam-packed audience at the Nehru Memorial auditorium, the Minstrels presented a lively and wide-ranging repertoire under the baton of conductor Gabriella Boda-Rechner, a Hungarian national with 25 years of experience in music. The show kicked off with the somber notes of classical great Haydn’s ‘Missa in Angustiis’, better known as the Nelson Mass. This was followed by singing of a collection of carols picked from different continents that the choir represented. So we got to hear: Peace to the World, Oh Burden Down, My Lord, Sing and Open to Jesus, Good Morning, my day, The River is Flowing, Praise the Lord, Hambani Kahle, The Infinite Sun, and Praise the Lord All Together.
They were set to an entire spectrum of beats like western classical, rock, pop, jazz and folk. The de rigueur ‘Hallelujah’ was enthusiastically sung and much enjoyed by the audience. The piece was a befitting entrant, not just because oratorio ‘Messiah’ is at the core of all yuletide choirs, but also because Year 2009 marks 250 years of its creator, the legendary George Frideric Handel. Intermittently, a choir member read extracts of messages of peace and universal brotherhood. L Bardos’ ‘Evening Song’ and Althouse’s ‘The Twelve Songs of Christmas’ completed the presentation. Amidst loud cheers and calls for encore, the Minstrels asked the audience to join in as they hummed ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ and then ‘A Silent Night’, when the conductor also gave an impromptu piano performance. Farewell was with the robust ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year’. Like the choir group, the audience was a composite of nationalities, with many expats savoring a Christmassy night in Delhi. Formed about 15 years back, the Capital City Minstrels are supported by the Hungarian Cultural Centre and the German Embassy, besides others, in a non-profit initiative to promote western classical music and spread the joy of choral music. The choir, which started with just 8 people in 1994, has been touching new heights in the hands of energetic Gabriella Boda-Rechner, who has conducted choirs and taught music in countries like France, Morocco, China, India besides her native Hungary. The Capital City Minstrels pioneered Chamber Choirs in Delhi, ‘A Night at the Opera’, and almost the entire chorus for Delhi’s first opera ‘The Fakir of Benaras’. The group also travels across different states of India and has begun touring Europe as well. So if you thought you missed all the fun, take heart, as there is still one performance of the season left. It will be held at the Epicenter, Apparel House, Gurgaon on December 15, Tuesday at 7:30 pm.