The auditorium at the Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago, Lemont presented a festive picture on the evening of Sunday August 12th, 2018 with Carnatic music aficionados from Lemont and neighbouring areas gathered in good numbers. The occasion was a Carnatic music concert to create awareness on the cost free community service to poor visually impaired patients in India by Sankara Nethralaya the premier, non profit eye hospital in Chennai, among the local Indian community and raise funds in aid of the same, the concert was organized by Mrs Vanita Achar, a long time well wisher, supporter and grand niece of Dr S.S. Badrinath, Founder and Chairman Emeritus, Sankara Nethralaya.
The concert began with an invocation to Lord Ganesha by Mrs Vanita Achar, after which she extended a warm welcome to the audience and expressed her sincere thanks for their presence, followed by a brief note on the objective of the concert. Mr. Vignesh Ramakrishnan the ‘Master of Ceremonies’ (MC) introduced the 4 artists of the day’s concert, Smt Minu Pasupathi of Akshaya Music Academy, the Lead vocalist, Ms Akshaya Kannan providing vocal support, Shri Rishabh Ranganathan on the Violin and Shri Sivagangai Vishvak Kumaran on the Mridangam, all of whom were performing cost free for a noble cause, in response to a request made by Mrs Vanita Achar.
The highlight of the concert was its thematic presentation, the special effort made to choose kritis having a direct connection with eyes, vision and awakening was very evident and impactful. The first 3 Tamizh songs were as follows – Sadashivakumara, Panneer Kondoru, Kadaikkan Vaitthennai, followed by Shambho Siva Sankar (Sanskrit). This soulful rendition of songs about the eyes was followed by a short 8 minute video about Sankara Nethralaya and its services, especially to the weaker sections of society and the need to support its noble initiatives. This was followed by an ‘Eye Donation Pledge’ drive by Dr Raj Rajaram, supporter and well wisher of Sankara Nethralaya. He highlighted that there was no greater gift to mankind than the ‘Gift of Sight’ and fervently appealed to the gathering to help in bringing the lost light and smile back on the face of the poor visually impaired in their motherland by donating generously. The second part of the concert included the following popular songs – Raaraa Rajeeva Lochana (Telugu), Annapurne Visalakshi (Sanskrit), Kandu Kandu Nee (Kannada) and concluded with the song Man ki Aankhen (Hindi).
The audience thoroughly enjoyed the well synchronized performance by the singers and musicians. The event was sponsored by 8K radio, media partner who promoted the event cost free for 2 weeks leading to the event date on their radio and Facebook page. The event concluded with the felicitation of artists, with the audience loudly applauding their sterling performance rendered cost free for a noble cause, as each of them made their way to the dais to be presented with a stemmed rose and honoured by draping of a Pashmina Shawl around their shoulder. Smt Minu Pasupathy the lead artist was honoured with a special memento from Sankara Nethralaya. The evening of fun, filled with soothing music was enjoyed by one and all!