HYDERABAD: As winter sets in, there's a nip in the air and a beautiful chill takes over the city, making for a very cosy atmosphere. Out come our warm woolens, mittens and for many people in the city, Christmas trees. Along with the winter comes in the festive cheer of the Christmas season. Many people in the city decorate their houses with lights, and a star is left to hang outside to indicate that this is a house ready to welcome Jesus through the festival of Christmas.

Hyderabad had a similar chill that has been setting in its streets, and to add to the festivities, The Festival Choristers presented themselves in concert at Ravindra Bharathi on the evening of Thursday, December 5th 2019, for the 14 consecutive time, to welcome the season. The Festival Choristers are a group of singers from many walks of life and faiths, who come together, year after year, for their love of music and song. They are a choir whose repertoire ranges from classical, semi-classical and contemporary choral music set in 4-part harmony (and more elaborate arrangements) to spread the message of Christmas - that of peace, love and joy!

The Choir had performed a one hour concert to a captive audience, receiving thunderous applause for all pieces. 'Nal Saki', a telugu version of a song originally composed in Malayalam and 'Sun Lo' a song in Bhojpuri were much liked. The choir was asked for an encore (Repeat) of the last piece called 'The Messiah Christmas Suite'. This piece comprises of many well-kown and loved pieces from the Messiah, an oratorio composed by George Frederick Handel, a baroque composer known for his riveting countrapuntal (though complex) yet mesmerizing harmonies.

The best part of the concert was the Children’s choir guided by Ranjit Mathew, one of the senior members of the choir. The children walked out of the closed curtains, just before the choir performed, and rendered three songs. Their angelic voices coupled with vigorous practice made for one of the cutest and scintillating performances.

The Concert ended with a sing-along session with many of our favourite carols like ‘Joy To The World’ and ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas.’ The choir in their 4 part harmony being joined by the packed auditorium of people singing heartily and lustily was a moment to cherish indeed.

Practices for the concert began as early as July, efficiently coordinated by Deepti Raj, one of the choirs strong soprano line-up.

The choir was founded in 2006 by three civil servants Rachel Chatterji, Aruna Bahuguna and Daphne de Rebello. The choir sings under the bâton of Sushil Pakyanathan, a medical doctor by profession and a pastor as well. The choir is accompanied by Cecil Naveen Elias, a medical doctor, pianist and French scholar, all rolled into one.

Fellow musicians Noah on the saxophone and flute, Lal Krishna on the second keyboard and Peter on the cahón added richness and grandeur to the accompaniment.