Music

This virtual choir group is raising funds for children with HIV/AIDS during lockdown

Mellow Circle choir is organising virtual concerts to raise awareness for children with HIV/AIDS who are in need of support

Mellow Circle choir is organising virtual concerts to raise awareness for children with HIV/AIDS who are in need of support   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Through virtual choirs, Mellow Circle hopes to draw attention to the need for funds to support the care of at-risk children with HIV/AIDS during the pandemic

“When sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say… It is well, it is well, with my soul.”

As many as 37 voices, all part of the Chennai-based Mellow Circle’s choir, are coming together virtually to sing this hymn by Audrey Assad. After Mellow Circle’s Christmas play last year, a Chennai tradition by now, the choir group would have held its annual Magic of Music concert in July-August had circumstances been different. Last year, they recreated chartbusters from the 1960s to 1980s, covering evergreen bands such as The Beatles, Abba, Simon & Garfunkel, Pink Floyd, Michael Jackson, and Billy Joel. “This year with the pandemic and the social distancing norms, chances of the concert taking place are low,” says Sajan Abraham, president of Mellow Circle.

A helping hand

“That’s why we are doing these virtual choir videos instead to spread the word about Prathyasha,” he adds. Prathyasha, a home for children with HIV/AIDS, was founded by Mellow Circle in early 2007. It takes care of the physical, emotional, and educational well-being of the children. Mellow Circle raises funds for Prathyasha through its Christmas plays and Magic of Music concerts.

However, getting 37 people to sing harmoniously virtually, when they could not hear each other, was an interesting challenge for this veteran group. It was producer Mervin T Thomas who provided music with the keyboard and mixed the sounds together. “There are four sections in this... about seven altos, six bases, three tenors and 21 sopranos. Each of us recorded our bits... first audio, and then over that track we recorded a video. Mervin mixed them together,” says Sajan. The video is up on his YouTube channel (Sajan Abraham).

He hopes that regularly uploading virtual choirs will help keep Prathyasha in public conscience. The home, he says, is braving difficult circumstances. “All the kids are being taken care of at home and step out as rarely as they can. Given they have HIV/AIDS, they are at a high risk as their immunity is low,” he says. Furthermore, there has been a pause in their education. Those who turn 18 will have to leave the home (as it can only take care of children) despite there being an uncertainty about their future. Some pursue higher studies, others look for jobs. “After they turn 18, they will have to go back to their families… uncles, aunts, single parents,” Sajan adds.

In a bid to up their fundraising, Mellow Circle is contemplating holding a virtual concert but nothing has been finalised yet. “For now, we are working on covering another song — ‘A Million Dreams’ from The Greatest Showman — virtually. It should be out in the next three-four weeks,” he says.

To know more about Prathyasha, visit mellowcircle.in or prathyasha.in

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Printable version | Jul 16, 2020 8:07:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/this-virtual-choir-group-is-raising-funds-for-children-with-hivaids-during-lockdown/article31820713.ece

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