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Many faces of an initiative

The show must go on! Despite a heavy down pour that disrupted the power supply at the Babu Jagjeevan Ram School in Yerawada, Baithak Foundation carried on, undeterred, to present yet another successful concert at the school. This concert was held on 22nd June 2018 as part of Baithak @ Classes initiative. 

It was exciting to see students gather in large numbers to attend the concert but what was even more special was the fact that amongst them were the alumni too. Baithak has been associated with BJR for a few years now. Former students who had attended previous concerts were back to attend more! A pat on the back to the folks at Baithak for creating sustained interest in Indian Classical Music (ICM) among students. 

There was an unexpected failure in the power supply as the students settled down. Sensing that it would affect the sound system, the students and teachers at BJR got concerned. Unfazed by the sudden disruption, the organisers, welcomed the artistes, Ninad Daithankar (Santoor) and Rohan Chinchore (Tabla).

They moved the artistes from the stage, right to the centre of the audience area, and seated the students around them. The children were incredibly thrilled because they were now sitting right next to the artistes; almost like they were part of the performance! 

Silence swiftly descended as Ninad started tuning the Santoor. The sun was just dropping lower towards the horizon and the students had finished their day at school. Ninad intuitively chose a beautiful Raag – Bhoop – perfect for the evening. 

There were many challenges during the concert. The sounds of students playing on the ground, the traffic noises and even the small whispers among students were evidently audible. Also most of the students come from socially, economically and academically challenged backgrounds and this makes it extremely difficult to focus on any activity for long time. Thus students had to be constantly reminded about the expectations from them as audience. At the beginning itself the following 4 expectations were set to ensure that students took most from the music presented to them.

  1. Sit straight
  2. Focus on the sound of the instrument
  3. Maintain silence
  4. Leave the space quietly if you don’t wish to sit any longer

These instructions ensured that the students did not feel obliged to sit through something they didn’t wish to but at the same time respect the artists and other audience members.

After the aalap was over students intuitively applauded loudly and even whistled; as those were the only ways of appreciating they knew of. The Baithak Foundation team however had a conversation with the students and explained to them how they may appreciate the performance by clapping softly and ensuring that they don’t whistle. Students were also gently reminded of the 4 expectations; before the artist started playing the compositions.

Post the compositions, the students were requested to ask as many questions, share their their observations and openly appreciate the artists if they felt like. After some hesitation and probing students started asking questions. Many students even stayed back to closely see the instruments, touch them and tried creating sounds through them. Some students also helped Baithak team wrap – up post concert.

This concert was definitely not an easy one. However it strengths ones belief in the power of music and the immense potential every child has. The music, discussion and dialogues ensured that students enjoyed the concert despite all the challenges.

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