CONCERT Mellow Circle’s recent fund-raiser performance captured the vibrancy, colour, song and dance of musicals, leaving the audience asking for more

The thousand upturned drums (that looked like ornamental flowerpots) lined outside and inside the Sri Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Concert Hall in Chetpet, during ‘The Magic of Musicals II’, organised by Mellow Circle, in aid of Prathyasha (a home for children with HIV), instantly kindled the curiosity of those who had come to attend the performance. They soon discovered the reason for this unusual arrangement.

The evening began with ‘I Have A Dream’, sung by the Mellow Circle Choice, accompanied by a live band and the Madras Chamber Orchestra. A video backdrop began with the words ‘Faith is the hope of things yet to happen,’ highlighting important events in the world — rebellion, consumerism and so on. When The Beatles medley followed and the choir switched seamlessly from popular numbers such as ‘All You Need Is Love’ and ‘Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ to ‘Here Comes The Sun’, a rather mellow version of ‘Hard Day’s Night’, ‘Ticket to Ride’ and ‘Yesterday’ (where the orchestra’s violins outdo everyone else), I had a sudden urge to join them on stage and sing along. That these pop numbers were being rendered by a choir ceased to matter after a point; they sounded just as good as the originals. Many heads bobbed to the tunes, and many others fell in love with The Beatles all over again.

A little choir, the girls dressed in bright skirts and the boys in black, jumped, skipped, clapped, tapped and sang to peppy Mary Poppins’ numbers such as ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’, ‘Chim Chim Cheree’, ‘A Spoonful Of Sugar’ and ‘Step In Time’. The kids were energetic, expressive and enjoyed themselves on stage. As for their singing? It was well-coordinated and flawless.

Magical moments

The Aladdin soundtrack ‘A Whole New World’, a rage in the 1990s, when the Disney film was made, was brought to life by two talented singers, Megha and Prince Andrew, with the video playing in the background. You almost wanted to board the magic carpet with Aladdin and Jasmine and travel around the world.

The Glee Groups’ ‘Eye Of The Tiger’ was an energetic rendition of the Rocky soundtrack, with the singers tapping their feet and giving their all to the song. Preethi Gaspar’s solo was up next, and her rendition of ‘I Will Always Love You’ by Whitney Houston brought back memories of the late singer. Preethi’s voice that rather resembled Whitney’s rang through the auditorium — deep and unwavering, and lovely to listen to.

A highlight of the evening was the interactive drumming that the Drum Events group presented. The djembe drums that were lined up in front were distributed among the audience, who were then taught a few basic beats. The entire crowd joined the gig, playing different tones, different speeds and tempos. It was later announced that this was the largest ever interactive drum session in the country.

The Madras Chamber Orchestra went on to play a few instrumental versions of popular songs — ‘Smoke On The Water’, ‘Stairway To Heaven’ and ‘Victory’ — the violins and cellos doing a neat job. A couple of Rahman numbers followed. There was ‘Jai Ho’ (where the dancers suddenly appeared in different parts of the auditorium, bringing the song to life) and ‘Chinna Chinna Aasai’.

As it was late, a couple of items on the programme had to be skipped and a Glee medley that was full of colour, dance, music and song kept the audience entertained. The dances were well-rehearsed and the singers were on cue. The tribute to Queen was an apt finale, featuring classics such as ‘We Will Rock You’ and ‘We Are The Champions.’ And like all good endings, the concert that began with a dream, finished on a dreamy and melodious note.