A Bewitching Performance!
By Arun Gandhi
Fifty-two 16 to 18 year old, black and white, rich and poor brothers all from the City of Brotherly Love were the greatest Ambassadors of the US. They captured the hearts of all those who had the pleasure to hear them sing in New Delhi over the New Year. These young people form the core group of more than 180 young men bound together as the Keystone State Boy’s Choir.
I first heard them early last November when they invited me to help prepare them for their first ever visit to India. We assembled in a church that straddles the rich and poor zones of the city. The congregation is uniques — almost equally divided between the whites and blacks. The Choir uses this for practice because “the poor can walk and the rich can drive their cars to this venue,” they explained.
The most moving and almost spiritual experience for me was when we all stood around “Gandhi Smriti” — the site where Gandhi was assassinated — at exactly 5.17 p.m. on Friday and the young men sang “Lead Kindly Light”, followed by a Muslim peace prayer and a Hindu hymn. The time and day were the exact moment when Gandhi’s life oozed out of the three bullet wounds inflicted by the assassin. It was an emotional and spiritual moment that will live with me forever.
Later they sang in the streets of Delhi, at the Gandhi Bhawan, University of Delhi, at the Salaam Balak Trust where rescued street children taught the US visitors some saucy Bollywood moves, at the residence of the American Ambassador to India and finally at the India International Center where an overflowing crowd gave the boy’s a standing ovation lasting several minutes.
If anything this proved beyond doubt that a little imagination and dedication can breakdown the barriers that divide us and kindle brotherly love amongst all.