ANDOVER, MA–Manitha Neyam Trust hosted the Deepavali Light Musical Treat, a full-fledged Tamil concert, last month, featuring a group of talented young New England singers at the Chinmaya Maruti Center in Andover, MA.
The fundraiser, which was attended by 250 people, raised over $20,000 towards their vision of igniting universal passion and love for humanity that will steer current and future generations towards a world of peace, opportunity and happiness.
Manitha Neyam Trust, or Love for Humanity Trust, was formed in Sri Lanka, USA and UK in 1999 to help the orphans, differently-abled and elderly who were affected by the ongoing civil war in Sri Lanka at that time. Although the war is over for more than eight years now, the need to uplift the down trodden is far from over in that country. There are still many students in the north and east who need assistance to complete not only Elementary, Middle and High school, but also their college education.
Manitha Neyam Trust does the following:
- runs an orphanage at Ratmalana, Colombo
- supports an Elders Home in Moolai, Jaffna
- supports differently-abled homes in Jaffna & Mullaitivu
- supports orphanages in Kilinochchi and Mannar
- gives financial assistance to under-privileged University students
- supports lively-hood projects in the Vanni area.
At the Tamil concert last month, Ashwin Aravinthan welcomed the audience and dedicated the event to Late Mr. V. Kailasapillai, founder of MNT , who passed away earlier this year. The stage was then handed over to: Anu Chitrapu and Sudha Lakshmi Rao, both of them no strangers to Manitha Neyam. Both Chitrapu and Lakshmi Rao served as co-masters of ceremony of the evening. Both kept the audience engaged and entertained throughout the evening with their light banter and trivia that was both humorous and informative.
The singers presented a delightful musical garland ranging from the era of Mellisai Mannar M.S.Viswanathan and Ramamoorthi, Isaignani Ilayaraja to Imman. The highlights of the evening were:
- Om Shivoham, from Naan Kadavul, a spiritually powerful performance by Guru Anandh that set the pace and tone for the evening.
- Paartha Nyabagam from Pudhiya Paravai by Indu Subramanian who captured the Sowcar Janaki/P.Susheela magic with ease and grace.
- Naalai Indha Velai from Uyarntha Manithan, by Rohini Sivamurthy who touched the high notes of this P. Susheela classic effortlessly and confidently.
- Pudhucheri Kacheri from Singaravelan, brilliantly sung by Raghu Saranathan with the endearing help of the youngest singers for the evening, MadhuSri Saranathan and Ananya Narayanan.
- Oodha Colour Ribbon from Varuthapadatha Valibar Sangam by Nirmal Ramu whose enchanting rendition had the audience up on their feet and dancing!
- Aananda Raagam from Paneer Pushpangal by Vidhya Sudarshan that was both melodic and appealing.
- Chandralekha (Konjam Nilavu) from Thiruda Thiruda, a most challenging song, performed with ease and grace by Swetha, whose range and full-throated rendition had the audience completely captivated.
- Margo Margo from Sati Leelavathi by Guru and Rohini who recreated the hilarious Kamal and Kovai Sarala scene so entertainingly.
- Maadathile, from Veera, not just sung but enacted by Indu and Raghu, attired in traditional Iyer Mami and Mama costumes, whose antics on stage had the audience in splits.
- Usilampatti from Gentleman where Guru and Swetha sang and danced their way into the audience’s hearts.
The group songs, En Kanmani (Chittukuruvi), Rojapoo (Agni Nakshatram), Veera Pandi Kottayile (Thiruda Thiruda) were well coordinated and came together nicely. Kannama (Rekka), Oru Kili (Ananda Kummi), Povoma Oorkolam (Chinna Thambi), Pon Onru Kanden (Padithal Mattum Pothuma), Germaniyin (Ullasa Paravaigal), Valaiosai (Sathya) and Santhana Kaatre (Thanikaatu Raja) and a rollicking foot-tapping medley were other enjoyable songs of the evening. The singers were emotive, energetic and enthusiastic; and the lively and merrily responsive audience applauded, whistled, shouted for encores, danced and sang along.
Aninformative and moving video of Manitha Neyam’s activities and how your donations help their various projects was screened during the break. On conclusion, Trustee, Mr. Mano Shan, proposed a vote of thanks and honoured the team who had worked so hard to make the show a resounding success. There were a number of kudos from many in the audience, appreciating the efforts of the music team, the sound engineers, the organizers and the volunteers.
Singers included Rohini Sivamurthy , Vidhya Sudharsan, Raghu Saranathan ,Nirmal Ramu, Swetha R. Siva, Indu Subramanian and Guru Anandh.
Manitha Neyam gratefully acknowledged and thanks: Generous Sponsors, Audience , All the singers and their families, Anu Chitrapu and Sudha Lakshmi Rao – Compères, Chinmaya Maruti Center- Auditorium, Murali & Mallika Narayanan – Sound , Krish Velmurugan – Video , K.S. Anand – Photography, Madras Grill of Chelmsford and Chettinad Grill of Burlington – Snacks and Tea, Sri Lankan Tamil Volunteers & Community for home-cooked Dinner, Sai Ruchira Bhojan (a Non-profit Organization of Sharon, MA, that feeds the poor in India) for Deepavali Sweets., Eco Embrace, Kolam – Handmade crafts and jewelry of Jaffna, Sri Lanka, displayed in the front foyer.