CHORAL MU­SIC

They say two heads are bet­ter than one. Does the same hold true for dif­fer­ent forms of clas­si­cal mu­sic? Neeta Helms would say so

India Today - - LEISURE - —Teresa Mathews

When Neeta Helms came back to In­dia seven years ago, she was de­lighted to find a grow­ing de­mand for western clas­si­cal mu­sic. “Be­cause of the wealth of In­dian clas­si­cal mu­sic and dance, I guess there’s never re­ally been a vac­uum,” she says.

Helms is the founder and owner of Clas­sic Move­ments, a con­cert tour­ing com­pany for or­ches­tras and choirs that per­forms all over the world.

Af­ter speak­ing with choral com­mu­ni­ties in In­dia, Helms re­alised the coun­try needed choral direc­tors ex­pe­ri­enced both in clas­si­cal mu­sic and in train­ing choirs. And so, the In­dia Choral Fel­low­ship (ICF) was born. The fel­low­ship seeks to ex­pose peo­ple to choral mu­sic and bol­ster ex­ist­ing pro­grammes with teach­ers and re­sources.

The fel­low­ship’s first guest con­duc­tor is Grammy award­win­ning choral direc­tor Kevin Fox, who has spent the past two weeks train­ing choirs in Delhi. ICF will send three more con­duc­tors later this year, with the goal of even­tu­ally send­ing more than 100 con­duc­tors and train­ers to var­i­ous cities, in­clud­ing Mumbai, Chennai, Cal­cutta, Pune and Ben­galuru.

Both Fox and Helms stress that they are try­ing to bol­ster In­dian clas­si­cal mu­sic by shar­ing western voice tech­niques. “If it stays au­then­ti­cally In­dian, that’s mar­vel­lous,” Helms says. But she would love to see a blend of both clas­si­cal styles.

“This is an opportunity to open some doors,” Fox says. “The world could use as much un­der­stand­ing and mak­ing mu­sic to­gether as pos­si­ble.”

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