The 61s music and arts festival at the Sri Sathguru Sangeetha Samajam began here on Saturday.

At the inaugural function, Samajam president Shobana Ramachandran presented ‘madhurakala praveena’ title on Mrudanga vidwan Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman at the Lakshmi Sundaram Hall. Accepting the award, which included a medal and cash prize, the Padma Vibushan recipient, thanked the Samajam and described it a great honour. For every artiste, getting an honour from a sabha like Samajam was like an acid test to their performance, he said.

The very fact that the Samajam was celebrating its 61st year reflected on its commitment to propagate music and arts in this region, he said.

Dr. Sivaraman, who had accompanied stalwart musicians on several platforms, said young and budding artistes must learn the nuances in music and scale greater heights. “I will be happy to participate in workshops or seminars for the youngsters conducted by the Samajam. I will also play mrudangam to the young vocalists to encourage them,” he said.

Today’s leading artistes were ready to pass on their wealth of knowledge to the young learners, he said and urged the music college students to grab such offers.

The Samajam also presented Madhurakala Mani award to Sangeetha vidwan T.K. Ramarathinam and presented cash award to Veena Vidwamsini V. Kantha.

Secretary S. Venkatanarayanan welcomed. Vice-president B. Ganapathi Sarma read the citation report. L. Rajaram proposed the vote of thanks.

Later, a vocal concert was presented by Sikkil C. Gurucharan.

The Samajam, which runs a music college — Sri Sathguru Sangeetha Vidyalayam — offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses in vocal, bharatanatyam and musical instruments. Evening classes are conducted for the benefit of school students.

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