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SIFA celebrates 37th Thyagaraja Aradhana

South India Fine Arts (SIFA) held its 37th Annual Thyagaraja Aradhna on February 28, 2016 at the Shirdi Sai Parivar, Milpitas, CA.  True to tradition, the full day’s program started with a group performance of the Pancharathna Kritis lead by Bay Area artists. Many popular Bay area gurus including Mrs. Asha Ramesh, Mr. Vivek Sundararaman, Mr. Hari Devnath, Mr. Shivakumar Bhat, Mrs. Kasthuri Shivakumar, Mrs. Sangeetha Sampath, Mrs. Geetha Seshadri, Mr. Ravindrabarathy Sridharan, Mr. Gopi Lakshminarayanan and Mrs. Sandhya Srinath, among others lead the large crowd of students and rasikas in a very harmonious rendition of Sri Thyagaraja’s choicest compositions.

Following the Pancharatna rendition, SIFA presented a short skit on the childhood of Saint Thyagaraja, enacted by children aged between 4 and 11 years. Expertly written by current SIFA president, Mrs. Anu Suresh, the play told the story of Thyagaraja’s parents who recognized where their children’s strengths and interests lay early on. They encouraged each child by providing them with the right resources to achieve their potentials. As a message, Mrs. Anu Suresh reiterated that encouraging children to follow their hearts and do what makes them happy is surely the recipe to a successful life. The rest of the day included individual and group performances by various Bay area students.

SIFA is among the oldest premier organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area helping to promote Indian Culture and Arts in the region. Annually, SIFA organizes close to 20 performances by leading and upcoming Indian musicians. Board member and president of the 2015 committee, Mr. Venkat Rangan has been associated with SIFA as a sponsor for over 20 years and has been an office bearer for the past 5 years. This year, he is involved in the organization’s initiative to coordinate North America tours for Indian artists. SIFA will be sponsoring tours of Vidwan Dushyanth Sridhar, Vidwan Sandeep Narayanan and Violin Maestros Sri Nagaraj and Dr. Manjunath. “We always begin our year’s programs by showcasing a local talent”, said Mr. Rangan referring to this year’s inaugural concert by Ms. Sruthi Sarathy to be held on March 13, 2016. Vidwan Neyveli Sri Santhanagoplalan will perform the main concert that day, accompanied by leading Bay area musicians, Vidushi Smt. Anuradha Sridhar on the violin, Vidwan Sri. Sriram Brahmanandam on the Mridangam and Vidwan Sri Ganesh Ramnarayan on the Kanjira.

“SIFA is very proud to be able to host many upcoming artists from India every year alongwith our wide repertoire of leading artists. These musicians go on to achieve great heights musically and we are indeed very happy and privileged to start our association with so many of them in the early stages of their careers”, said Mrs. Anu Suresh, president of the 2016 SIFA committee. Mrs. Anu Suresh is a veteran Bay area performer and educator and expressed great pride in her association with SIFA.  This year's lineup includes performances by Vidwan Sri T.N. Krishnan, Vidushi Lalgudi Smt. Vijayalakshmi, Vidwan Sri T. N. Seshagopalan,  Chinmaya Sisters, Sri. V. Sankaranarayanan and many more as they still finalize their fall lineup. “We are a non-profit organization and a 100% of what we get by way of sponsorships goes into bringing quality artists to the Bay area” said Ms. Suresh.

More information on SIFA may be found at http://www.southindiafinearts.org

Photo Courtesy Mr.Prasanna Ranganathan

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