Newman Choir Excels in Magnificat
The Afternoon Despatch and Courier, Dec 6th, 2004
By Prabhudhas Ivanson
The Newman Choir and the B.P. Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Dr. Rohan D'souza, gave a concert entitled 'Let Us Exalt Him' at the Tata Theatre on November 30. The orchestra was released by their regular conductor, Pervez Doctor. The concert was presented by NCPA and Fr. J.B. Fernandes Sacred Music Foundation, marking the fortieth anniversary of the formation of the Newman Choir.
The programme opened with Palestrina's 'Credo' for acapella male voice choir, rendered in style, and with appropriate attire as well. Gounod's 'Brief Mass' which followed was for the full choir, with piano accompanied played by Myrn Halloween. This simple work in a very basic diatonic harmonic idiom was given a sweet rendition by the choir.
The substantial item in the first half was the Magnificat by Bach, sung in the original Latin. Bach's Magnificat is the most famous of the many settings of the Biblical canticle to music. In contrast to his other choral works, the Magnificat is more concise, though equally profound. Moreover, some of the arias are a little easy-going, a la Handel (for instance, the opening soprano aria and the bass aria which followed later). Of exceptional beauty is the alto aria 'Esurientes implevit bonis'.
The choir was fully up to the splendid choruses of this work. Especially superb was the opening Magnificat of angelic beauty, which repeated at the end to form the conclusion. Equally satisfying were the choruses, "He has shown his strength" and "Even as he promised", the latter accompanied by cello and continuo alone. Among other numbers, the duet 'And His mercy is on Them' sung by Raynah Braganza, contralto and Edward Mendes, tenor, and the trio 'His Servant, Israel' sung by Faye Monteiro, Soprano I, Fiona Miranda, Soprano II, and Sandra Patel, Contralto, deserve mention.
The second half opened with evangelical style music, most of them with recorded accompaniment and piano. They had a very good piano accompanist in these popular style pieces, in Beven Fonseca. The best among them were the delightful 'He who began a good work in you' by John Mohr, the ebullient 'I will call upon the Lord' by Stuart Blake and a traditional 'Emmanuel Medley' all of these arranged by Mark Hayes. Matching them measure for measure, was the rhythmic, effervescent 'Samba de Christmas' by Indian composer Edlyn de Souza.
The finale comprised a couple of choruses each from Handel's oratorios 'Messiah' and '
The B.P. Chamber Orchestra accompanied the choir competently and with élan. The Newman Choir has a young, enthusiastic conductor in Rohan. He has obvious empathy and rapport with the music, and is well suited to carry forward the mantle of this prestigious choir.
In spite of the great variety in the programme, there was a fine sense of balance in placing the Handel choruses after the light pieces.
(The reviewer is a musician, performer, writer and founder of the European Piano Teacher's Association and India Associates).
Here’s a cosmopolitan choir in perfect harmony
Mumbai Newsline, Monday , December 08, 2003
By Snehal Fernandes
Mumbai, December 7: Two hours before a big concert, the 75 members of the Newman Choir are a bubbly bunch. It’s the last chance to rehearse but there’s not a trace of anxiety.
Love of God and passion for music has brought them together. At the conductor’s command, they lift their voices, filling the air with their singing, smiling radiantly.
“Since then, we’ve had two concerts—to keep traditional sacred music alive,” explains Ella D’Souza, a physiotherapist and president of the Father J B Fernandes Sacred Music Foundation.
Since then, we’ve had two concerts—to keep traditional sacred music alive,” explains Ella D’Souza, a physiotherapist and president of the Father J B Fernandes Sacred Music Foundation.
They sing it all. From 4th century Gregorian chants to Negro Spirituals, Gospel Jazz, Blues and contemporary music. Not forgetting Mozart, Bach and Beethoven.
It’s a choir whose appeal stretches beyond the Christian community. Ashwin Bhandare (29) has no qualms about singing in the Newman Choir. “I love the spirit,” he says.
“Worship of God is universal,” explains D’Souza. “It doesn’t matter to us who the choir members pray to.”
Audiences agree. At one concert, the choir left a burkha-clad woman in tears. As they sang Ave Maria, spectators of all creeds sang along. Rohan D’Souza, an obstetrician, is the first conductor of the revived choir and has earned the affection of its members.
He shares his favourite compliment: “Never before have we experienced God in a concert”.
For the online version, visit
City professionals, students to stage a musical
Mid Day, March 18, 2009
By Melissa D'costa
The musical drama based on the life of Jesus Christ is told by Apostle Peter who narrates the miraculous events in Jesus' life through this dramatic presentation 'The Witness'.
For some informative quotes on the same, visit
I am thankful for this wonderful opportunity of being part of a choir that has devotion to God as its core focus. During times of joy as well as times of despair and confusion, I have always sought refuge in singing spiritual music. Being part of the Newman Choir is a great gift that God has blessed me with.
- Sherise D’souza
Singing in the Newman Choir for me feels like worshipping God with the whole choir, not only during our shows/performances but during our rehearsals as well. I also get to meet and interact with smart and fun people.
- Ralph Fernandes