The Shillong Chamber Choir has hogged the news here in Meghalaya over the last few weeks as they progressed through the rounds of India's Got Talent. It was amazing to see the huge rallying of public enthusiasm for the choir (which I am sure the TV channel airing the show would have loved!!) that reached a crescendo over the last week as the final round aired. As expected, there were posters everywhere drumming up support for the choir and ad hoc phone booths all over the town where people could vote. Unlike the previous time this happened, when Amit Paul only managed second place in Indian Idol, this time the frenzied voting was successful and the Shillong Chamber Choir was victorious. And, truth be told, they seemed to get better with every performance and their final medley, which even got one of the judges to give them a standing ovation, was a virtual tour de force. A truly moving performance that well deserved all the adulation they received from back home. I did not watch the other performers myself, but certainly their performance was befitting the internationally acclaimed choir. The news is that they plan to start a music school in Meghalaya with the `50 lakh prize money. Their choice of songs for the finale was also interesting and they ended their medley of praise songs with the climax of 'My Tribute' by Andrae Crouch. Just beautiful!
I knew there was much planning as to their reception back here in Shillong, but (as usual!!) I forgot the date. So today, just as I reached home after a long and tiring day at work, I was confused to hear loud sounds of cheering and the bursting of crackers. The last time this happened was during the soccer World Cup, when there was a huge screen put up in the nearby stadium and huge numbers used to watch the matches there. I called a friend to find out the cause of the commotion and learnt that the choir was just returning and a huge crowd was bringing them into Shillong from the Guwahati main road. My journalistic instincts overrode my tiredness and I quickly threw on my work clothes again, grabbed my camera and raced off in my trusty Alto to catch them. Alas, I was a little too late and though I drove halfway across Shillong in search of the celebrations, I had to finally give up the chase and return home empty handed!! The government of Meghalaya has planned a huge reception for them tomorrow and has even declared a half-holiday to allow everyone to attend!! I hope I can make it for that. So there will be no pictures of the victorious choir surrounded by the adoring masses today. Just the video of their impelling final performance at India's Got Talent for those of you who missed it. Viva la SCC! Viva la Shillong!