Atlanta, GA: The Sankara Nethralaya-OM Trust (USA), Atlanta chapter launched “SAHASRA NAMAM-SAHASRA NAYANAM” project besides organizing a three-day music festival commemorating the birth centenary of music legendary M.S. Subbulakshmi during Labor Day weekend (September 3-5) at Hindu temple of Atlanta Auditorium, Riverdale. The event assumed great significance as it was both a fund raiser to support “SAHASRA NAMAM-SAHASRA NAYANAM”, Sankara Nethralaya’s cost free services to the indigent, visually impaired and also centennial homage and expression of gratitude to one of the greatest philanthropist, a noble singer who had bequeathed her voice to the cause of alleviating the suffering of the sick, displaced and the poor. The event was co-sponsored by the Carnatic Music Association of Georgia (CAMAGA).
Dr. Seshu Sarma, a prominent person among art & cultural circles and vice president of Sankara Nethralaya-OM Trust (USA) kicked off M.S. Amma 3day music festival on Saturday, September 3 by drawing the attention to the MS Amma’s achievements in becoming the greatest torch bearer for Carnatic music, but also, more importantly, for her pivotal role in taking Indian classical music in its entirety to the world stage and to various contributions made by MS Amma from her recordings and concerts to many causes. M.S. raised crores of rupees for charity through her concerts. The first charity concert was for the Kasturba Memorial Fund in 1944. The institutions that benefited include the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam, Sri Ramakrishna Math, the Nanak Foundation, the Subramanya Bharati memorial, the Hindu Temple in Flushing, New York, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, the Kamakshi temple in Kancheepuram, Sankara Nethralaya, the Cancer Institute and Voluntary Health Services and the Music Academy. Dr. Seshu said that there is no temple in the world where M.S. Subbulakshmi’s voice/music not part of the worship. MS Amma gave Vishnu Sahasranamam in musical form. So why don’t we give Sahasranayanam, 1000 eye surgeries. So planned to bring all together, music, devotion, sacrifice and community service in honor of M.S. Subbulakshmi. Explaining the services rendered by Sankara Nethralaya OM Trust, USA, Dr. Seshu said we provide donations for free eye checkups, cataract surgeries and major eye surgeries to all those who cannot afford. Fund raiser for “SAHASRA NAMAM-SAHASRA NAYANAM” received over whelming response from students, teachers and music enthusiasts of Atlanta community and SN OM trust (USA) raised funds for more than 1000 eye procedures.
The inaugural day marked the splendid presentation of Carnatic music by the renowned artist, Sangeetha Kalanidhi, Smt. Sudha Ragunathan. She was accompanied on the violin by Rajeev Mukundan, on the Mridangam by Thiruvarur Vaidya Nathan, on the Morsing by Raman Ramakrishnan and on Tambura by Atlanta’s own kid Ms. Sri Varshini. Kishore Meduri, amateur vocalist and critic introduced artists. Mrs. Sudha enthralled the audience by singing many of the songs that Smt. M. S. had popularized.
While addressing the audience, Sudha Ragunathan said MS Amma’s 3day music festival in Atlanta is befitting combination of music and joy of giving. It is a true reflection of Amma’s ideals. Bharat Ratna MS Amma left her indelible foot prints in the world of music and her acts of charity through music is rare. She informed that MS Amma’s Vishnu Sahasranamam funded many activities and as a sequel SN OM Trust (USA) Atlanta chapter taken up Sahasra Nayanam project glorifies the contribution and fund 1000 eye surgeries to those in need. She exhorted audience to join hands in the endeavor making the dream a reality.
The concert was followed by prize distribution to the winners of the essay competition on Smt. M. S. Subbulakshmi. Smt. Subhashini Krishnamurthi, a well-known music teacher and music composer was recognized as the recipient of the M. S. Subbalakshmi award for notable contribution to Indian classical music. The awards were presented by Smt. Sudha Raghunathan.
The second day and third day events focused on local Atlanta talent. On the second day, young musicians from the community performed as groups singing some of the compositions made popular by Smt. M. S. Subbalakshmi. The third and final day included a one-hour video presentation on the life of Smt. M. S. Subbalakshmi produced by Sri Syam Yellamraju, a well-known dramatist and producer. It was followed by group singing of Annamacharya compositions by local teachers and musicians.
Dr. Pulipaka Bhimeswara Rao, President of Hindu temple of Atlanta, R. Srinivasan, Consul (Pol) at Consulate General of India in Atlanta and Dr. Ram Sriram, President of the Carnatic Music Association of Georgia spoke at MS Amma’s 3day festival. Overall, the three-day event and fund raiser was a fitting and emotional centenary celebrations of Smt. M. S. Subbulakshmi, the legendary musician.