Goa has had the distinct pleasure of hosting not one but two classical music festivals for a number of years now. The successes of the famous Monte Music Festival and the Ketevan World Sacred Music Festival, both of which are held in Old Goa, have ensured that Goa now one of India’s preferred music destinations. This weekend, the historic St Francis of Assisi Chapel will be the venue for yet another classical music performance. This performance will see three choirs from three reputed educational institutions come together for a magical choral performance.
Three choirs making beautiful music together
The evening promises to showcase some of Goa’s best classical choral music talent. With the majestic St Francis of Assisi Chapel in the background, this evening is titled ‘Goonj, an Echo’. It will feature The Somerville College Choir, Oxford University, Goa Institute of Management’s choir and the Goa University Choir. The Oxford University choir will be conducted by William Dawes and the Goa University and GIM choirs will form one choir to be led by Maestro Santiago Lusardi Girelli.
This performance by these three choirs is part of the GIM’s 25th-anniversary celebrations. The GIM kicked off their silver anniversary earlier this year in August.
The Somerville College Choir of Oxford University
This is the Somerville College Choir of Oxford University’s very first visit to India. They have been invited by the Goa Institute of Management to partake in this event. This choir is a highly regarded and talented mixed voice choir from within the University of Oxford. Formed in 2001, the choir has made several recordings, and has recently performed in Italy, Germany, and the United States of America (the latter in both 2014 and 2016). The Choir is led by the Director of Chapel Music, William Dawes, who studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London and is a member of the internationally acclaimed and multiple-Grammy-nominated vocal ensemble, Stile Antico.
The Goa University and Goa Institute of Management choirs
And we cannot forget our very own Goa University Choir that is also making a name for itself. Formed in 2013, the GU choir is said to be the country’s first university choir. They have performed all over the state and country. Their most recent performance was at two of Mumbai’s reputed performance auditoriums – The Prithvi Theatre in Juhu and the National Centre for the Performing Arts where they recieved standing ovations.
GIM’s choir is the dark horse in this event. The choir has been around for the last seven years and comprises a mixed group of business school students with little if any, musical background. New batches volunteer every year to train for the Trinity College Certification and perform when the opportunity arrives. And they do it with dedication despite their heavy workloads and busy class schedules. GIM is probably the only B school in India, to encourage Choral training and weave it into its out-of-class learning program.
Said Dr. Ajit Parulekar, Director GIM, “We are probably the only Business school to have had a choir for 7 years. It has become a GIM tradition. But why have a choir in a B school at all? If we look at what it demands to be a part of a choir, it answers all the questions eloquently. From working in a team, losing your individual identity to deliver within a group, excellence, discipline, dedication, tenacity, perseverance, observation, synergy, listening skills, commitment, and punctuality. Qualities we wish to inculcate in any young manager today.”
‘Goonj, an Echo’ will also showcase Indo-Western performances by Goan musicians.
The Church of St Francis of Assisi
All this takes place at the centuries-old Church of St. Francis of Assisi which was built in 1661 by the Portuguese. The three-tier facade has octagonal towers on each side and in the central niche there is a statue of St. Michael. The central nave is barrel-vaulted while the crossing is rib-vaulted which supports the choir. The internal buttress walls, separating the chapels and supporting the gallery on top, have frescoes showing floral designs. Above the tabernacle in the main altar is a large statue of St. Francis of Assisi.
The event begins at 6 pm on 15th December and while it is by invite only, there are passes available at the Goa Institute of Management as well.
Goa Institute of Mangement