Ringing in Christmashttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/ringing-in-christmas/

Ringing in Christmas

Announcing the arrival of Christmas a month in advance,students of Naga Christian Fellowship will perform a cantata as part of a musical storytelling

One can hear them from a distance. The voices of more than 40 singers — base,alto,tenor and soprano — rising in harmony as they sing: Everlasting light,everlasting light,filling up the darkness with everlasting light…

What sounds almost perfect to an untrained ear is not quite what it should be to the choir’s conductor Lilia K Jimomi. She quickly signals them to stop,calls out some instructions to the sopranos,gives them a pep talk and signals her hand for the music to begin. The choir starts again and the practice continues.

Christmas is a month away but heralding its arrival in the city is the Naga Christian Fellowship’s choir,which will perform a Christmas cantata today. A cantata is defined as a narrative piece of music for voices with instrumental accompaniment,typically with solos,chorus,and orchestra. The choir of 44 students will perform seven songs,including solo pieces,interspersed with narration as a musical storytelling. “The cantata we will perform this year is by Claire Cloninger and Mark Hayes. It’s titled Everlasting Light – A Christmas Carol for a Dark World and as the name suggests,it’s a celebration of God’s light that came into the world in the form of Christ,” says Jimomi,who is conducting the choir for the third year.

She says that while the NCF has been performing Christmas concerts over the last 15 years,this time the performance is a true-blue cantata with all its various elements. Sharing that the composition of the choir members is also a picture harmony,Jimomi says it includes people from various tribes of Nagaland and Manipur,one from Kerala,another from Darjeeling and even a Korean. “We are not full-time choir members and most of us are not professionally-trained singers. The majority is from different Naga communities with diverse languages and backgrounds,” says Jimomi,adding,“We believe music is not just for people with good voices but for people like us too,who sing not because we can but because we have so many things to sing about.”

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Practising with the students for almost a month now,Jimomi acknowledges that a lot of work goes into putting up such a performance. “The choir members are all students and many of them might share how difficult it is to juggle between assignments,paper presentations,studies and innumerable college activities. As a choir director the most challenging thing for me is not just teaching notes but inspiring them to bring out the music within. To help them bring those notes to life,” she says,adding that the joy on the faces of the performers keeps her inspired.

The cantata will be performed at Mount Carmel Convent School,Lulla Nagar,starting 4.30 pm.

Entrry is Free