Students of Patna Women’s College and St. Karen’s Secondary School, and teachers of Don Bosco Academy and St. Karen’s Schools were the top winners in the Songs of Joy Christmas Carol Festival organised on Friday 17th December by St. Xavier’s College of Management and Technology, Patna.
Some 225 participants from 8 institutions, in a total of 18 teams, took part in an evening of choral singing.
The first Christmas Carol event of the season in Patna was held strictly by invitation adhering to Covid-19 protocols.
” The spirit of Christmas is represented in the generosity of ordinary people who went out of their way to comfort and bring relief to those affected by the second wave of covid,” recalled Metropolitan Archbishop of Patna Sebastian Kallupura who graced the occasion.
“Music and songs have been an inseparable part of the celebration of the Christmas Season in every age and in all corners of the earth. The music of Christmas carries with it the universal language of Hope, Love, and Compassion,” said SXCMT Principal Fr. Dr T Nishaant SJ in his welcome address.
” Songs of Joy is not so much a competition, but a reason for all of us to come together and give our students and young people a platform on which to hone their God-given talents, “he added.
The evening featured performances from High school and college students in Hindi, regional languages and English. St. Karen’s Secondary School won the first prize with ‘Khush hai Dharti Khush Aasman hai’; Nursing College of Kurji Holy Family Hospital captivated the audience with a lively Nepali song ‘Ukali Orali Herera‘ was placed second, Don Bosco Academy took third prize for ‘O Yesh La la’ . In the English segment, the soulful rendition of ‘Carol of the Bells’ by Patna Women’s College took first place, ‘O What a Glorious Night‘ by Don Bosco Academy was adjudged the next best performance, St Karen’s Secondary school sang ‘My Favourite Time of the Year’ for third place.
Clubs, Associations, Youth Groups and others formed another category, where top honours were taken by St. Karen’s School Teachers, Sanjivan Nivas Brothers, and Don Bosco Academy Teachers.
“I am glad to see the tradition being carried on,” said Jesuit father Arun Ignatius, former director of Bihar’s regional institute for Catholic Communication RAVI Bharati. “Songs of Joy” was started in Ravi Bharati in the year 2000 and continued unbroken for 17 long years, he recalled. “It is good to see that the same spirit is being kept up, by the Mass Communication Department of SXCMT.”
The Chief Organizer of the event, Frank Krishner, who initiated and conducted the very first ‘Songs of Joy’ and continued to do so for 17 years was very clear about the context and the social importance of the event.
“That year, there had been some disturbing things happening around Patna. Hate notices against the Christian community were being passed around by some so-called unidentified elements, and some leaflets were thrown into Notre Dame school, as I recall. It was during a casual conversation with Professor Shankar Dutt of Patna University, where he remarked that what was needed is to encourage unity in diversity and there was no better way than to have a Christmas event right there in Ravi Bharati. I remember he said, ‘Let the spirit of the joy and love of Christmas drown out these voices of hate and insanity.’
“It was that remark that triggered me to approach the administrator of Ravi Bharati with the idea, and he said we are okay with it if you can take the initiative, and that led to a happy collaboration of 17 years, spanning different administrations and directors.”
“Songs of Joy is an idea that goes beyond the narrow brand image of a particular organization. It is not a mere talent show to be handled with smartly dressed anchors, and perfectly pitched microphones. It is an opportunity to come together and learn. The day we have auditions and a multi tier system where you only keep the so-called best voices for a one hour time-bound programme, that is the day you will lose the very soul of Songs of Joy.”