Pulsating music, a responsive audience and a pleasant ambience — courtesy a perpetual, cool breeze — all combined to ensure loud rounds of applause for the contestants at the Vrindavadyam (Group Instrumental) competition for high school students at the St. Joseph’s Higher Secondary School on the fifth day of the State School Kalolsavam.

With bands of only seven members being allowed, teams took to the stage with more instruments than players: piano, keyboard, electric drums, violin, guitar, jazz drums, tabla, mridangam and ghatam.

But the team restriction helped the artists prove their versatility. The sight of the jazz or triple drum player hurrying to the tabla, mridangam and ghatam to infuse classical touch to the performance went down well with the audience.

However, the performances had a predictable feel with all the teams beginning with a western composition, progressing to the classical, moving on to a jugalbandhi, then a film tune and winding up with patriotic tunes like ‘Saare Jahaan Se Acha.’

Notes or noise?

Some music connoisseurs were displeased by the desperate attempts by most participants to please the crowd at the expense of aesthetics. “This is the age of electronic music instruments. But I wish these children would use the facilities provided by the keyboard sparingly, as a lot of it sounds like noise rather than music,” said V. Rajan, a music teacher in the audience.

But no complaints could be heard from the predominantly young crowd who came to listen to racy beats and to cheer their friends. The performances of Silver Hills Higher Secondary School, Kozhikode and St. Paul’s English Medium Higher Secondary School, Thenhipalam, Malappuram in particular were praiseworthy with their recital cleverly altering the tempo between foot-tapping numbers and chest-thumping beats, finally ending their recital at a crescendo, leaving the packed St. Joseph’s School quadrangle reverberating with an atmosphere resembling a mega concert.

Omar Hassan, leader of the Silver Hills band, in a virtuoso performance set a breathless pace with his violin, gathering able support from the keyboard, guitar, jazz drum and electric drum players who wisely restrained their respective acts. P.V. Hancel of St. Paul’s too proved a crowd favourite hopping between the piano, keyboard, tabala, mridangam and ghatam doing equal justice to each instrument.

Carmel E.M. Girls H.S.S., Thiruvananthapuram, came first in the event followed by Hassan’s team from Silver Hills, Kozhikode, with St. Paul’s led by Hancel finishing third. All three teams secured ‘A’ grade and 5 points each

Jiby Kattakayam