M B Sreenivasan
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Madras Youth Choir

A new genre of music – Indian Choral Music – entered the arena of the musical world at a time when values and structures of the society were falling apart. The reigning disharmony was brought to harness when this music reached to wider audiences and awakened their interest. The compositions evolved based on Indian classical and folk tradition, by judicious use of western techniques of counterpoint and harmony. The human voices were divided into groups to cover a wide range of musical expressions with correct rules of enunciation and voice reproduction. The voice resources were channelised to produce an orchestra without instruments. To meet the demands of social development while adhering to the rich tradition of our own music, a kind of music was created which, through its dynamism and sound, directly touched the hearts of young India.

Madras Youth Choir was formed in 1971 with a group of college students who got together for a youth programme to be broadcasted on All India Radio, under the leadership of Smt.Vasanthi Devi, the erstwhile Vice Chancellor of Manonmaniam University, along with Shri.K.S. Subramanian, and Late Smt.Zahida Srinivasan. Having experienced the joy of singing together, Late Shri.M.B.Srinivasan gladly took upon the mantle of being the Composer, Conductor and Director of this group with the main goal of popularizing choral singing and mass singing movement in India.

Madras Youth Choir is a non-profit, voluntary organization, constituted of around 30 men and women engaged in varied professions. Apart from some of the members being musically trained and qualified, the others imbibed the basic musical knowledge from the Director, while learning his choral music compositions. At present, being headed by Shri.K.S.Subramanian as President and Shri.D.Ramachandran as Secretary, the administration is taken care of by a team of dedicated members. The Choir's repertoire consists mainly of songs that speak of national integration, environment, social values, youth, children, general invocation, etc., in all the Indian languages.

The Choir having presented numerous programmes of Choral Music all over the country, was invited to take upon the responsibility for the formation of the Choral Group at the Madras All India Radio. The broadcasting medium reached out to wider audiences, awakening an interest among people in this new genre of music. The launching of the official project for promoting songs of national integration, introduced teaching of these songs to a large mass of children from many schools, under the direction of Shri.M.B.Srinivasan.

The Choir has also spread this movement in a big way into the rural districts of Tamilnadu and Kerala by singing to the people and training children and youth groups there.

Special mention needs to be made on the recognition given to our Founder-Director Late Shri.M.B.Srinivasan, in the year 1976, when he was given the FIE Award for Creative Excellence in Choral Music.He was also the recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1987 for his contribution to Choral Singing and Mass Singing movement in the country. He also served as the Founder-Secretary of the Film Employees' Federation of South india and the Cine Musicians' Union. He held the post of Chairman of the Indian Performing Right Society for a long time.

Ever since the Choir attained professional standards in rendering choral pieces that were technically complex musical compositions, we have been recognized as a reputed organization and have been called upon to perform in various places all over India, independently and along with regional youth choirs, as well as for Doordharshan and All India Radio. Some of the landmark performances have been for the inauguration of Doordharshan in Chennai in 1975 and also its 25th Anniversary in the year 2000. We have also performed at Delhi under the auspices of Sangeet Natak Akademi on a few occasions including the International Music Festival in 1999. Many corporate organizations, banks, private and voluntary institutions, continue to invite us to perform for their special functions.

Every year, the Annual Students’ Book Fair is an important event for the Choir. Apart from composing music for the Theme Song, we also undertake training for the teachers and the students who participate in this event. A large number of schools volunteer to bring their students to take part in this prestigious event and our Instructors spend a great deal of time for this occasion, from the planning stage till its completion.

We have also been invited by local social organizations to participate in their musical functions along with western and classical musicians giving prominent recognition to Indian choral singing as a special genre of music. These organizations have also given us opportunities to perform in various parts of the city as part of their folk art festival of Tamilnadu.

We are working with another social organization actively involved with the tribals of Tamilnadu, for imparting musical training to tribal children and our instructors have gone to various places in Tamilnadu and trained around 600 to 800 children, teaching them national integration songs and songs for civic awareness. We have had very good response and there is a likelihood of us continuing this work for some more time.

Our Director, late Shri.M.B.Srinivasan, has specially trained our Instructor-Members, to impart the art of choral singing and conduct workshops to music teachers from government and private educational institutions. After his demise, these members have now taken upon themselves the responsibility of conducting our own public performances.

Our affiliate choral groups include the MBS Youth Choir in Trivandrum, and various groups in schools and colleges in Chennai and Tamilnadu.

Contact: Mr. D. Ramachandran,
Telephone : 24915436 (Office)
Mobile : 9841034673

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