Tiruchirapalli

Christmas carol contests go online, ensure festival cheer

As the rain and fears of a new pandemic keep people indoors, Christian community organisations are bringing festive cheer with a digital twist in the run-up to Christmas this year with online carol singing contests that showcase amateur musical talent from across the country and even abroad.

“Our main aim is to give a platform to singers from a rural background, because they are rarely represented,” said Fr. Suresh Kumar, who is in charge of Sigaram Media DCMSSS, a social service organisation that runs a digital recording studio in Edamalaipatti Pudur, Tiruchi.

Going digital has also helped people to follow COVID safety protocols and send in entries from the comfort of their homes. “The video entries for our contest ‘Balanukku Oru Thallattu’(A Lullaby for the Infant) have a time limit of four minutes, and can be shared through our social media accounts or uploading apps. We have received over 30 entries so far, and are expecting more to come in the next few weeks. The winner will get a chance to record his or her song in our studio in addition to the cash prizes that we will be giving out at the end of the programme on December 25,” Fr. Suresh Kumar told The Hindu.

In an attempt to ensure originality, most of the contests have disqualified pre-recorded karaoke soundtracks. “We focus on the musicality of the singer’s voice. So we ask contestants to send in three-minute songs without any musical accompaniment,” said Praveen Babu, editor at ‘Vinnin Kural’, the carol contest being organised by Arul Thedal, a YouTube channel associated with the Church of the Holy Eucharist in Thirumullaivoyal, Chennai.

The deadline for the first round is December 21; entries are enlisted based on 20% score for the number of likes (views) that the video gets, and 80% for musical expertise, by special judges. “Fifteen finalists will be chosen for the second round and winners will be declared on December 24,” said Mr. Babu.

At Augusta Carols, where festive singing competitions have been a norm for the past decade, the event whent online last year due to the pandemic restrictions.

“We used to organise inter-church carol singing programmes in big halls for large audiences before the pandemic; now we have gone online to keep it safe for everyone,” said Rev. A. Devasahayam, who runs the parent organisation Augusta Sahayam Trust charity based in Ekadduthangal, Chennai.

Seventy-five entries have come in already, and more are due ahead of the December 10 deadline for the first round, he added.

The contests are open to singers from other faiths as well, as long as they present devotional songs themed around Christmas, said the organisers. “We have received entries in Tamil, English and Malayalam, from singers not just in India, but also from Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Singapore,” said Rev. Devasahayam.


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Printable version | Jan 16, 2022 4:38:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/christmas-carol-contests-go-online-ensure-festival-cheer/article37901745.ece

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