And the bands came marching in

The 62nd Republic Day celebrations culminated in a scintillating show by bands of the Armed Forces at Vijay Chowk.

Written by Pritha Chatterjee | New Delhi | Published: January 30, 2011 1:17:29 am

The 62nd Republic Day celebrations culminated in a scintillating show by bands of the Armed Forces at Vijay Chowk,in the backdrop of the stately Rashtrapati Bhavan on a pleasantly chilly Saturday evening.

This year’s event highlight was the nearly 100 per cent renditions of Indian compositions,with 19 of the 25 songs being composed by Indians. For pipes and drums,where there are no existing Indian compositions,Western renditions had to be played.

Like every year,the ceremony had a huge crowd as audience. A doctor couple from Mizoram,who have been trying to get passes for the past three years,finally managed to see “the magnificence of the lit-up Rashtrapati Bhavan”.

“Though we are government servants,passes are hard to come by. I have attended the Republic Day function twice before,but I always wanted to see this performance,” said the 45-year-old doctor. According to him,the show was more “organised and coordinated” in comparison to the chaotic Republic Day celebrations. “We had heard the President’s house looks its most beautiful at this ceremony. Today we saw that,” added his wife.

Students from the Gyan Shakti School,Noida,were happy as they witnessed the ceremony for the their first-time. “Our school got passes for 25 of us. It was wonderful to see such a grand show. I saw the Prime Minister and the President for the first time,” said an excited student.

UPA chief Sonia Gandhi,who could not attend the Republic Day parade due to ill health,was also seen enjoying the performances of the military bands.

The audience’s favourite was easily the ‘Drummers call’ during the finale,which saw many audience members standing up to applaud the collective percussionists’ performance from all bands. The performance of the Navy and Air Force bands,accompanied by chimes from the North and South Block,also caught the audience’s attention. The second composition to be played — the “Indian Star” — where band members marched smartly into a star formation with their commander at the centre,was also appreciated.

Of the 35 bands that performed,20 were from the military and 15 were pipe and drum specialists. The Navy and the Air Force together had four bands,while the Army was represented by 27 bands.

The unfurling of the Tricolour,before the Rashtrapati Bhavan was lit up against the setting sun,got a standing ovation from the crowd.

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