A musical tribute to Bapu

There will be more than a little "Sound of Music'' moment this Thursday. While the music dates back to a time much before Julie Andrews made the Von Trapp family famous, the "sound" and the "inspiration" are legendary.

A unique music tribute to the Father of the Nation to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Dandi March, the St. Florianer S�ngerknaben, St. Florian Boys' Choir, will bring alive their thousand-year-old tradition in Bapu's favourite words.

"There will be 35 boys from the choir who are coming to Delhi to perform. They will be singing two of Gandhiji's favourite bhajans, `Vaishnava Jana to' and `Raghupati Raghav', at Gandhi Smriti on Thursday,'' said an official at Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti on Tuesday.

Dating back to the 1071 AD, the choir takes its name from the convent built for Saint Florian Martyr. In the hymn business for centuries now, the choir has come a long way from its "monastery days'' and is now an internationally renowned choir that performs all through the year.

While the responsibility of the choir has moved beyond just providing the right sound for the convent, the boys still live in the convent but attend public schools in St. Florian. Inspired by Gandhi, the choir approached the Austrian Embassy in Delhi to ask them how they could pay a tribute.

"We then approached the Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti. It was suggested that it would be appropriate if they sang a few bhajans that Bapu liked. We then sent them the words and the musical notes so that they could learn the songs for a special performance. They would also visit important places connected with him so it will be nice that they perform at Gandhi Smriti,'' said an official from the Austrian Embassy.

And for those who might miss out their performance on Thursday, the choir will be performing at the Kamani Auditorium and singing the same tune on Friday. -- Mandira Nayar

-- Mandira Nayar

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