City Kemp News
The Harmony Chorus directed by Ms Sandra Oberoi are the only contestants from Bengaluru to make it to India’s Favourite 14 at a National level reality singing competition-Rising Star season 2. A proud moment for Bengaluru and Koramangalites as The Harmony Chorus, a children’s choir directed by Sandra Oberoi has reached the third round of the popular reality singing contest- ‘Rising Star’ season 2 on Colors TV! This is the only group from Bengaluru to have reached India’s top 14. They all are children between the age of 10-15 years and are learning Western Classical music for several years at Harmony – The Music School located in Koramangala 3rd Block.
On 28th January, The Harmony Chorus, directed by Sandra Oberoi, which comprises of 19 students of ‘Harmony – The Music School’, Bengaluru, left for Mumbai to compete in Rising Star 2, which is Colors TV’s only LIVE reality singing competition. This show is a national platform for singers from across the nation to showcase their vocal skills. The contestants perform live and India’s TV viewing audiences view and vote for the best contestants via the VOOT app. The experts on the show are Shankar Mahadevan, Monali Thakur and Diljith Dosanjh who also vote for the best contestants. Their votes constitute 15% of the total while the rest comes from the country.
Round 1 of the competition was the LIVE TV auditions in which 48 contestants from around India sang where The Harmony Chorus made it to the top 31. This was based on the highest scores. The Harmony Chorus got 93% votes for their first performance (A medley of songs – Kal Ho Na Ho, Dil Hain Chota Sa and Taare Zameen Par). They received fantastic praise for their singing and music arrangement from the judges, especially Shankar Mahadevan who pointed out that they were in perfect harmony and the arrangement, execution was perfect. Monali Thakkur said the children “sound like a beautiful breeze”. This performance ended with Shankar Mahadevan giving them a ‘tutari’ moment that he reserves for the most outstanding performances.
Round 2 of the competition was the Duels Ki Takkar in which the choir was pitted against the Mangniyar Fusion Group, a well known and established group of folk musicians from Rajasthan. The children performed with much flair and energy (A medley of songs-Eena Meena Deeka, Bol Baby Bol, Dil Dhadakne Do). It was a nailing biting finish as both teams scored 88% but the Harmony Chorus beat their opponents with a marginal .46%. The judges were on their feet dancing and voted for them almost immediately after they started singing. Shankar Mahadevan said that “out of all the performances thus far, this was an international level performance!” Guest judge Sonakshi Sinha was in awe of the singing as were Monali Thakkur and Diljith Dosanjh who said that “he had never heard music like this in his life and was so happy that their music touched the hearts of Indian’s around the country who voted for them.” In this round, too, they managed to get another ‘tutari’ from the experts.
The Harmony Chorus has performed exceptionally well thus. They also shot a promo ad with Sonakshi Sinha that aired on Colors TV and had a special performance with Gurdas Mann, a renowned Punjabi singer, songwriter, choreographer and actor and is considered to be one the most notable figures in the Punjabi music world. He thoroughly enjoyed singing with the children and has promised to someday record the song Challa with them at Coke Studio’s.
The next round: The Harmony Chorus will team up with another contestant from the chosen 16 to do a duet. The voting will be for both contestants collectively and the team with the lowest score of the eight pairs will be eliminated from the competition. Despite receiving mostly western music education they have taken this challenge to sing Bollywood music and showcase their talents with originality in which they have succeeded so far with flying colours. Choir director, Ms.Oberoi said, “ I constantly encourage all my students to be versatile and inquisitive in their musical choices and singing. One should be willing to appreciate different genres of music from different cultures and seek creative ways to express oneself.” She add’s, “Choir singing has brought out the best in these children. It is quite difficult to flawlessly execute what we do. We don’t just sing in three parts but upto eight different parts.
The children have learned to tune with each other, match timbre’s and blend in as a group while holding on to their individual parts. They have understood the importance of phrasing as a group, using expressions and even synchronising their breathing. I encourage teamwork and really pay attention to detail so we can be excellent in every performance.” The choir performs in various styles including Western Classical, Jazz, Gospel, Rock and Roll, Folk and Indian folk music. They have also done some Bollywood. They sing in different languages including English, Latin, Italian, German, Spanish, and a few Indian languages like Hindi, Malayalam, Khasi and Kannada. About The Harmony Chorus: The total number of children in the choir singing on Rising Star is 19 while the actual strength of the choir is about 60 children. The Harmony Chorus believes in purposeful music making. They sing for truth, goodness and beauty channelising much of their energy into performances that have a social agency. The choir has performed at old age homes, hospitals, orphanages taking their music to people who can’t come and hear them or can’t buy tickets to come to their concerts, thereby bringing joy to many neglected groups in our society. The choir has raised funds for children with AIDS at Snehadaan, mentally and physically challenged girls, bought an ambulance for an old age home and currently support the ongoing education of underprivileged children through a program called E.D.U.C.A.T.E.-Empowering Deserving Underprivileged Children Actively Through Education. About Rising Star: The competition is fierce and gruelling and entails long days of non-stop practices, late nights, early mornings, promo shoots, studio recordings for ad promos, technical & sound rehearsals and costume fittings but the children, remain enthusiastic and energetic and are not just growing leaps and bounds due to this wonderful, unique and rare opportunity but are also excelling at it! The Bollywood arrangements by Sandra Oberoi that the choir is singing bring in a unique flavour of Indian music set to Western choral influences along with synchronised dance moves- a typical show choir concept that completely new and fresh on the Indian scene.
How you can support: Download the Voot app to vote for The Harmony Chorus. Watch their performance live on Colors TV every weekend. The next duets round is scheduled for this Saturday, 24th February at 9 pm. If you like the performance, believe in what they do and would like to see this lovely choir from Bengaluru move up in this competition please support them with your valuable vote and spread the word.