CHRISTMAS EVE CELEBRATIONS- CHRISTMAS CHOIR BY OVERSEAS DEVOTEES
Lighting up the Christmas Eve, setting in motion Prasanthi Christmas 2013, choristers from all over the globe joined in unison singing ‘Hallelujah’ at Beloved Baba this evening here in Prasanthi Nilayam.
Yes, it’s western time again here in Prasanthi Nilayam. No folks, no Country and Western but Western Carols for Christmas. It’s the time of the blessed birth of the Baby Jesus, commemorating the Advent Of The Son Of God and it means a lot for Westerners… and they do get a chance to strut their stuff for their Beloved Baba.
The programme on this beautiful Christmas Eve commenced in typical Indian style, with the auspicious lighting of the lamp, this time lighting the Christmas Candle, mounted in front of the Sanctum Sanctorum. International Christmas Committee Coordinator John Behner from the US along with his predecessor Arthur Hilcoat took the privilege of doing the same in Baba's Divine Presence.
What followed next was an hour-long devotional offering, raising the spirits up, sinking thousands of hearts in the hall in sublime joy, engulfing the whole of Prasanthi in Love and Peace. The Western Choir had in its repertoire for the evening an offering 18 hymns – including, How Great & Hark The Herald of Mozart, Lord Make Us Carry The Light etc. To make sure that they are in harmony with their host country – Blessed Bharat - the Choir had an invocatory incantation on Lord Ganesha, Sri Ganesha Pancharatna Strotram.
In the evening soon after the candle-lighting ceremony, an all-white-team of men and women choristers, with women in white flower headband, burst into spells of singing following finger ‘baton’ instructions of the conductor Ms Gisela Sebastian from Germany singing a unique ’18 hymns’. The choristers were accompanied by seasoned ‘musicians’ from various countries, who have been continuously perfecting their skills for the past over ten days.
Beginning with the Ganesha Pancharatna Strotram the choir continued with How Great & Hark The Herald, Hark The Herald Angels Sing, God Gave Me A Song, I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day, Hallelujah…Hallelujah, Lord’s Prayer, My Shepherd, As The Deer… Sai You Are, I Give Myself Away, Hallelujah To The Lord, Silent Night, Someday At Christmas, Lord Make Us Carry The Light, O Tu Rex Gloriae Hallelujah, Blessed The Lord, Oh Dearest Lord Sai Baba, Ave Maria & O Holy Night, Sathya Sai, You Are My Life to end with May All Be Happy… This final song was special for it had an insertion of Musical Piece and a Divine Discourse by Beloved Baba, with Baba assuring His ‘overseas’ children of His eternal blessings…The song insertion was Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah…
With very days of hard work, braving the Indian winter, these choristers had familiarized themselves with 18 new musical pieces – most of them in English – and many of the devotees do not have English as their first language. In addition, there were scores of musicians and to add a final twist of complexity to this ambitious undertaking, most of the people involved were not professional singers or musicians.They do it, for their Swami…with Swami working through them.
Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust