O come, all ye faithful, come online

For the last six years, November has been an exciting, busy time for the musicians at St Andrew’s Church, popularly known as The Kirk, Chennai. This is when they gather and rehearse for the annual Kirk Junior Piano Recital. The show features much more than just pianos — over the years there have been flutes, clarinets, cellos, violins and other solo instruments.

This year, the recital will take place virtually — as has been the norm for most event. The duration of the show is 90 minutes, and participants typically play two pieces, one of which has to be Christmas themed. This year the participants (18 so far) will send in their video recordings, which will then be pieced together. “Since it’s a recording, it will take the pressure off the kids,” says Shanthakumar Devakaran, one of the organisers.

What the kids will miss most, apart from the bonhomie, is the grand piano and the wonderful acoustics of the regal old church. Normally open to participants aged seven to 21, the recital this time has increased the participation age to 24.

Through the rehearsals and the finale event, upcoming musicians get to network with each other and feed off each other’s performances. The organisers vociferously state that this is not a competition. “This is a platform for musicians to perform. The focus is on instruments, because there are many who play instruments but do not have a place where they could be heard,” says Arul Siromoney, choir director.

The piano recital is the brainchild of Arul and Devakaran D, an avid musician who was an organist at the Kirk for more than 15 years.

“The idea was to encourage young musicians and pianists,” says Shanthakumar who is Devakaran’s son.

He adds, “Many youngsters were getting into bands or playing popular instruments like guitar and drums. There was a dearth of pianists. The vision was to encourage and build up budding musicians to play for the church.”.

The Kirk junior piano recital will première on YouTube on November 28 at 6.30 pm.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2021 7:07:29 AM |

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