After holding the nation spellbound with western chorals and Hindi classics on a TV reality show, the Shillong Chamber Choir will now have a very special audience – U.S. President Barack Obama.
The young group of singers from Shillong, dubbed as the ‘rock capital of India’, is scheduled to perform for the U.S. President and his wife Michelle at President Pratibha Patil’s presidential banquet at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on November 8.
“We have been invited by the Government of India through the Ministry of External Affairs. The invitation came much before we won the reality show,” said Damon Lyndem, bass singer and media coordinator for the choir, which had won ‘India’s Got Talent -- Khoj 2’ on Colors TV earlier this month.
‘To God be the Glory’ and ‘Deep River’ are among the probable numbers to be performed by the choir before President Obama and First Lady Michelle.
“We have been asked to perform jazz and spiritual numbers. But of course, we would like to showcase our own culture, and so there will be Khasi opera. It’s a big thing. We hope to do justice,” Lyndem told PTI.
Rashtrapati Bhavan sources in New Delhi have confirmed the group’s participation.
Twenty members of the choir, including fifteen singers and conductor Neil Nongkynreih, will leave for Delhi on November 6.
The duration of their performance and other details are yet to be worked out.
The choir’s repertoire includes works of western classical greats like Handel, Bach, Gershwin and Mozart, besides Queen hits and Khasi folk songs.
The Shillong Chamber Choir had made their debut performance at a city hotel in January 2001, with Neil Nongkynrih as their maestro and mentor.
The group of 25 soloists first came to limelight after bagging three gold medals at the World Choir Games 2010 in China.