I've just returned after a performance at The Festival of Christmas Music conducted by the Basel Mission which was held at the Bishop Cotton Girls School auditorium. A well known carol competition, the festival features top choirs from Bangalore, all vying to be the best. This is the third year I've participated in the prestigious event and it never fails to impress.
Being a big fan of western classical and choral music, I look forward to this festival each year. Although I've been part of the audience since I was in school, participating in the festival was something I always wanted. In the final year of my graduation, I joined a small choir called Vocal Enigma - brainchild of a brilliant musician and friend - Maneesh Dasanayake. It was the opportunity I dreamed of and though we were only fifteen in number, we were ably led and soon became one of the most prominent choirs at the college level.
The first Basel Mission was also our best. We tied for first place along with the Christ University Choir, a powerhouse among choral circles here in Bangalore. Victory was sweet, and as days went by our repertoire grew. We participated in numerous other festivals and shows and won many accolades. But the win at this festival was always dearest to me.
After graduating, we hoped we could still keep the choir alive. But work schedules often clashed with practice and most of us couldn't find time. Maneesh too had to return to his home - Sri Lanka. However, some of us still wanted to keep going, we did the best we could to practice on weekends, when most of the working people had a holiday. And this year under the name Choral Blueprint, we gave what we felt was our last performance at Basel Mission.
There are three categories for judging - Junior Schools, Senior Schools and Colleges. We were an independent professional choir and were not judged under any category but were allowed to participate as guests. Nevertheless, doing our best was the aim. Although we couldn't compete we felt like champions. The competition, however, was as fierce as ever. Choirs performed works by Handel and Rutter. Just listening to those arrangements gave me goosebumps. At the end Christ University were declared winners. They deserved it.
The best part about every Christmas season for me is the carols. And the best part of caroling for me is the performance at Basel Mission. Winning never mattered, not this year atleast. But the mere fact I performed there for one last time probably was a rewarding experience indeed. So kudos to the winners and thank you Basel Mission.