SPIC MACAY’s ‘Music in the Park’ series comes to Chennai

The SPIC MACAY-SRF collaboration is bringing eminent musicians to perform at places accessible to the common man in Chennai

April 25, 2019 05:25 pm | Updated 05:25 pm IST

NEW DELHI, 19/02/2008: Santoor maestro Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma performing at the 'Music in the Park 2008', concert organised by INX Media, NDMC and Spic Macay Foundation at the Nehru Park Chanakyapuri, in New Delhi on Tuesday. February 19, 2008. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar.

NEW DELHI, 19/02/2008: Santoor maestro Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma performing at the 'Music in the Park 2008', concert organised by INX Media, NDMC and Spic Macay Foundation at the Nehru Park Chanakyapuri, in New Delhi on Tuesday. February 19, 2008. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar.

“Have every child experience the inspiration and mysticism embodied in Indian and world heritage” — this has been the motto of SPIC MACAY (The Society for the Promotion of Indian Classical Music And Culture Amongst Youth) for several years now. Established in 1977 by Dr. Kiran Seth, Professor, IIT Delhi, SPIC MACAY has always been run entirely by volunteers of various age groups and professions, all working towards a common cause of spreading the Indian tradition and culture to children across the country.

While the foundation receives donations from government organisations and other businesses, what drives the volunteers to provide services in whatever way they can is the satisfaction of seeing the traditional values and art forms being imbibed by the youth. Many volunteers are those, who have earlier been inspired by some initiative of SPIC MACAY.

Since 2017, SPIC MACAY has joined hands with the SRF Foundation, a firm that was earlier involved in various philanthropic activities such as education of the girl child. With quite a few musicians in the family, SRF has now dedicated its CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) wing to contribute towards art and culture. They have adopted SPIC MACAY’s activities in four States — Tamil Nadu, Delhi NCR, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. Many of the custodians of our classical arts have performed in leading schools and colleges across these four States. In Chennai, some of the activities that happened earlier this year, include lecture–demonstrations by ghatam meastro Vikku Vinayakram and his team held in February 2019 at PSBB Nungambakkam and PSBB K.K. Nagar. These were followed by lecture-demonstration by accomplished Carnatic vocalist S. Sowmya at PSBB Siruseri.

SRF’s CSR wing is divided into two. The SRF Foundation contributes towards SPIC MACAY’s activities involving schools and colleges such as conducting lec-dems, workshops and interactive sessions in several renowned educational institutes. The SRF Trust takes care of the community outreach programmes of SPIC MACAY. Various other activities include yoga camps, heritage walks and the SPIC MACAY Gurukul Scholarship scheme. From September 2004, one of the major events under the community outreach programmes is the acclaimed ‘Music in the Park’ series. The objective of this series is to celebrate the Indian composite heritage and to create an awareness about a peaceful and clean environment for the people of our country.

B:LINE: Mr.Arun Bharat Ram. To go with Chitra's Story for Brandline

B:LINE: Mr.Arun Bharat Ram. To go with Chitra's Story for Brandline

Arun Bharat Ram, Chairman, SRF, which has been unstintingly supporting SPIC MACAY, is upbeat about entering Chennai with the Music in the Park concept. “I have been associated with this movement for more than 25 years and I’m happy to say that my involvement has kept increasing with time. The reason for this is the exemplary work that the organisation does in promoting Indian classical music and dance among other arts. SPIC MACAY has played a huge role in taking our musical heritage to the people across the country,” he says. Commending the work of the volunteers in investing time and energy in promoting the arts, he appeals to the youth to join the brigade in large numbers.

“SRF, the company I am Chairman of has been in financially supporting the cause and we continue to add new ways of collaborating with SPIC MACAY. We are actively presenting Music in the Park in Delhi apart from bringing many artistes to four States. The concert of Pt. Jasraj on October 19 is in memory of Pt. Ravi Shankar, my Guru, whose100th birth anniversary falls this year. I welcome Chennai’s music lovers to join us that evening,” he says.

SPIC MACAY has organised peace concerts in Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, even concerts in Tihar jail and at many more places. Pt. Ravi Shankar, Ustad Bismillah Khan, Kishori Amonkar, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Pt. Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Balamurali Krishna, Shubha Mudgal, Pt. Kishan Maharaj, Girija Devi, Ustad Zakir Hussain, and many more have performed in this series.

SPIC MACAY plans to bring the ‘Music in the Park’ series to Chennai for the first time in October this year, in collaboration with the Theosophical Society (Adyar).

It will feature a number of prominent artistes, including the veteran vocalist Pt. Jasraj.

This is an initiative, which would take great masters to the common man, who may not have seen them in person. Concert in a park is a great opportunity in that sense,” says Kiran Seth. “The concept is a huge hit in New Delhi and Jaipur, where it has been happening for the past many years. There is no better way to draw children, who may not be welcome inside a concert hall. Even while playing in the park, the music will seep in. I consider it the best takeaway. Chennai has always responded warmly to SPIC MACAY’s projects. Our conventions, intensives and Virasat series have been very well-received. I’m sure that Chennai will welcome this also with open arms,” he adds.

NEW DELHI, 09/05/2013 : METRO PLUS --- Interview with Dr. Kiran Seth, founder Spic Macay Foundation, in New Delhi on Thursday. May 09, 2013. Photo: Shanker Chakravarty

NEW DELHI, 09/05/2013 : METRO PLUS --- Interview with Dr. Kiran Seth, founder Spic Macay Foundation, in New Delhi on Thursday. May 09, 2013. Photo: Shanker Chakravarty

In the future, SPIC MACAY is keen on taking their initiatives to all the rural areas in India, to reach every child in the country. And it wants to bring the children in touch with famous artistes. Director of SPIC MACAY Foundation, New Delhi, Rashmi Malik, fondly recalls how a girl in a Orissa village was asked to come up on stage and sing. “That was the first time the girl had eaten three meals a day and worn a proper uniform,” says Rashmi.

SPIC MACAY also wants to invite Western classical artistes to share their knowledge and experiences with the Indian youth. Having diversified its reach, SPIC MACAY is also constantly on the lookout for more volunteers to help them with their cause and also those who wholeheartedly believe in it. Interested people can contact the Tamil Nadu head, Jayashree Aradhyam (jayashreearadhyam@gmail.com or 98406 55366).

“Music in the Park’ started at the Nehru Park, Chankyapuri, New Delhi, and soon SPIC MACAY was invited by the Government of Rajasthan to conduct the series all over State and Ustad Amjad Ali Khan performed the inaugural concert of the series on December 2006 at Central Park, Jaipur. Today it has become one of most acclaimed concert series of Indian classical music here and abroad. It has its presence in many cities in India such as Jaipur, Bhubaneshwar, Daman and Diu, Mumbai, etc,” says Jayashree, State Convenor, SPIC MACAY Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

In Chennai

SRF, and SPIC MACAY will jointly present Music in the Park in Chennai with the venue support from the Theosophical Society Adyar and The Hindu will be the Media partner for the same. October 2019 will witness the first concert of the Music in the Park series in Chennai. Pt Jasraj has agreed to perform on October 19 Besides, SPIC MACAY is proposing to organise week-long Virasats in various schools and colleges across Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. There is a proposal to organise a week-long Virasat in Pondicherry in July, which will consist of workshops and performances by artistes such as Pt. Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Pt. Rajan and Pt. Sajan Mishra, Priyadarsini Govind and Jayteerth Mevundi

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