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Sunday Kutcheri in the Park completes 10 years
Over 1,000 children have presented Mikeless Kutcheri at Nageswara Rao Park

CHENNAI, January 11: Fifteen children, all disciples of Dr. Subha Ganesan presented a lively Mikeless Kutcheri at the Nageswara Rao Park here on Sunday last. The concert was held between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. They were accompanied on the Violin by G Vagadeeshwar, and on the Mridangam by K.S. Ramakrishnan.

No mikes and speakers are used at the Kutcheri. The Kutcheri in the Park is organised on the first Sunday of every month, and is restricted to children below 15 years of age. A committee from Sundaram Finance Ltd. (SFL) conducts audition to select the artistes.

The monthly Sunday Kutcheri in the Park organised by SFL completed 10 years last Sunday. Way back in February 2006, a group of 12 children from Vishwa Vidyalaya School came all the way from Vandalur to present the first Sunday Kutcheri in the Park. Since then, over 1,000 children aged below 15 years have presented the mikeless Kutcheri on the first Sunday of every month. In these 10 years, there have been participants from Dubai, Kuwait, Pune, Bangalore and California. For many children, this has been their first Kutcheri. There had been Kutcheris organised even in rain with umbrellas being held over the artistes.

TT Srinivasaraghavan, MD, Sundaram Finance Ltd., said, ‘When we launched the Kutcheri in the Park, we had wanted this to be a stepping stone for budding musical talent. I would like to think that the Sunday Kutcheri in the Park has played a small role in helping young ‘unsung’ children aged below 15 years shed the initial inhibition that we normally associate with stage performances by giving them a platform to showcase their talent. Many have gone on to the next level in their musical career. That for us is very heartening; those for whom we provided a platform, blossoming and moving on.’

Shravan who first performed at the Sunday Kutcheri in the Park, went on to win the Airtel Super Singer contest. Sruti Sarathy, who came from the U.S. to perform at the Sunday Kutcheri in 2008, has gone on to perform in the Chennai December season, and had won the Best Violinist Award from The Music Academy and the ‘Best Violinist’ award at Parthasarathy Swami Sabha. She credits the opportunity she got at the Sunday Kutcheri in the Park for her growth in her musical career. Twins Deeptha and Swetha Vasudevan, who presented the Sunday Kutcheri in 2007, have now been presenting Kutcheris in the Sabhas in the city. ‘What we are today is because of the platform we got when we were young kids. That informal atmosphere inspired us and it is one of those unforgettable events of our lives,'' they said. Sree Chitra Vijayakumar, who presented almost a decade ago, said, ‘Thanks to the opportunity I got through the Sunday Kutcheri platform, I had cine music directors approaching me. I have now sung in three movies. The open air kutcheri also gave me a lot of self- confidence and belief that soon after my Sunday Kutcheri, I cut my own CD album.'' Durga Venkatesh, Guru of Arul Priya (who came all the way from the Middle East to present the Kutcheri), said, ‘I have been teaching young kids for several decades now, but I have never heard of the concept of 'mikeless kutcheri' and that too in an open-air environment. This is a very unique concept, and this was a different kind of experience for my student. Without the mike, Arul Priya had to put in more effort and her voice came out much better. This will give her a lot of confidence to take her music learning into the next level.''

The Sunday Kutcheri in the Park has even become an audition ground for a Kutcheri in another park in the city. The artistes who first perform here are seen performing at the other park in the succeeding months.

To register for the audition, email or call 94450 34557