The Shillong Chamber Choir is set to take Singapore by storm with their upcoming performance. The Meghalaya-based award-winning musical troupe will take the stage on December 1 at Esplanade - Theatres by the Bay to mark yet another notch on the Lion City's belt.
Founded in 2001 by award-winning concert pianist Neil Nongkynrih, the multi-genre choir won the reality TV show India’s Got Talent in 2010. The same year also saw the choir being awarded three gold awards at the 6th World Choir Games for Musica Sacra, Gospel and Popular Music. They also performed at the Rashtrapati Bhavan for visiting US President Barak Obama and Michelle Obama during their state visit to India.
The choir’s versatility ranges from performances with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra and the Fitz William Quartet to collaborations with known icons like Amitabh Bachchan for the opening of Kaun Banega Crorepati season 6. The show is said to have had the highest opening in 2012 across all shows on all general entertainment channels, breaking all previous records. They have also teamed up with other recognised names like Shankar Ehsaan Loy and Usha Uthup. Their Christmas album in 2011 became the highest selling in the country for non-cinematic music.
The choir has been touring extensively all around India and the world gaining fame and recognition. Their future projects include involvement in music videos, movies and concerts all over India. Connected to India (C to I) asked them about their upcoming performance and history in the past 17 years.
C to I: Tell us about the upcoming performance in Singapore, what new can the Singapore audience expect from the Choir?
Shillong Choir: From the outset, what a treat it’s going to be for us, performing at the renowned Esplanade Theatre in Singapore. The audience can expect a well-varied musical showcase. There’s going to be opera, rock, pop classics, folk, our iconic Bollywood Medley’s and all kinds of mischief, pomp, grandeur and dabbles of class with the ladies in plush gowns and men in their tuxedos.
C to I: The Choir has come a long way in the last 17 years, What would you attribute your success to?
Shillong Choir: A single-mindedness to remain humble, a dogged pursuit to always keep the team above any individual and all of this is only possible by seeking strength from God, above our own human abilities.
C to I: How important has been the innovation piece in keeping the performances fresh and vibrant?
Shillong Choir: We try and cater every performance to the particular audience we’re performing to and that tends to keep things fresh. We’ll give Singapore what they want.
C to I: Putting Shillong/Northeast on the world map through Music, how does it feel to make a huge contribution in changing the image and neglect the region has suffered for long?
Shillong Choir: We are a part of India and one of our iconic songs speaks of where our heart belongs, – ‘Vande Mataram, I’m So Proud To Be An Indian.’ We’re not here to divide, we’re here to integrate. We’re here to use our calling as musicians to ‘heal the wounded gap’.
C to I: Which has been the most memorable performance for the Choir? and which victory has been the sweetest?
Shillong Choir: Winning ‘India’s Got Talent Season 2’ has always been the most memorable victory for us, not just because we won but because our victory was shared by many around the country. It brought a sense of togetherness during that time.
C to I: Giving music for movies, making music videos, what next can we expect from the Shillong Chamber Choir?
Shillong Choir: We just finished doing a sell-out three city premiere tour of an opera by Schubert called ‘Shakuntala’. Now there’s a movie being made on the choir as well, many details to follow, but as of now, our prime focus is on giving the people of Singapore a memorable show.