Vidya Sagar students to be part of Bharat Sangeet Utsav

In an attempt to make music truly accessible, children with disability from Vidya Sagar will be joining leading Carnatic musicians at a festival in the city, singing for their peers in sign language.
Vidya Sagar students to be part of Bharat Sangeet Utsav
KN Shashikiran, director Vasanth Sai and Sudha Raghunathan announce this year’s Bharat Sangeet Utsav

Chennai

Music is a great therapy, said Sumathi Aravendan, from Vidya Sagar’s fund-raising department. Elaborating on the programme, she said, “In the annual Bharat Sangeet Utsav programme organised by Carnatica and Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha, around 21 students between ages 12 and 15 will be participating.” On November 1, children from Vidya Sagar will join 300 other school children from Sargam Choir and Rhapsody School, in the inaugural concert by Aruna Sairam.  Our students will be singing Vande Maatram in sign language, she added. This is the first step towards inclusion in music. 
“The students from our school participating in the Utsav have conditions such as cerebral palsy, autism, learning difficulties and use wheelchairs. The inclusion is an important part, as children with disability need to have access to our culture too. This will give an opportunity for them to experience that,” added Sumathi. The Utsav will be inaugurated by Banwarilal Purohit, Governor of Tamil Nadu, at 4.30 pm on November 1 and will go on till November 8. 
It will feature a slew of performances by leading Carnatic artistes in the city, including TM Krishna, the Chinmaya Sisters, Neyveli Santhanagopalan and many others. A part of the proceeds will also go to Vidya Sagar. Noted musician KN Shashikiran, Managing Trustee, Carnatica Archival Centre for Music and Dance, said that the students will also join popular vocalist Sudha Ragunathan to sing the national anthem in sign language on November 7. 
“With the increasing number of natural calamities in the world, we wanted a sort of a musical prayer, which the entire city can sing along with Sudha Ragunathan. We have close to 700 people registering to sing together for nature,” he added. Shashikiran also pointed out that this is the beginning of an effort to introduce music to students at Vidya Sagar. “The idea of the Utsav is to integrate people together for music. We wanted to reach out to children with disabilities, as they respond to music well. We will also try to create occupational therapy sessions, where we can get musicians to train and support the students at Vidya Sagar,” he said.

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