Since its revival in 2002, the Newman Choir, under the baton of Dr Rohan D’souza, an extremely dynamic musician, has from its first concert 'Tribute to the Trinity' grown from strength to strength.
Read on to know the journey of the Newman Choir since its resurrection.
‘Tribute to the Trinity’: Bill Flanders and John Coates (Cantata)
Performed in January 2003 at the Tata Theatre, NCPA and
'Tribute to the Trinity' is an expression of worship and praise to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The original is by Bill Flanders, arranged for a full symphony orchestra by John E. Coates. 'Tribute to the Trinity' is a tasteful blend of the familiar and the new, seeking through music to adore the Father, glorify the Son and obey the leadership of the Spirit.
‘How Great Thou Art’: Sacred Music Through the Ages
Performed in November 2003 at the Tata Theatre, NCPA and
A programme comprising a tasteful blend of celebrated works through the ages, incorporating masterpieces by Palestrina, Bach, Handel, Mozart and others, as well as a collection of lilting Negro spirituals, Gospel Jazz and Blues and contemporary music.
‘Olivet to Calvary’: J.H. Maunder (Lenten Cantata)
This beautiful and heart rending cantata is a journey of the Lord’s last days unto his death by crucifixion. The listener is compelled to sit up, take notice and cannot shy away from its haunting melodies and powerful lyrics – a humble tribute to the Lord’s labour of love.
‘Let Us Exalt Him’: 40 Years of Praise
Performed in November 2004 at the Tata Theatre, NCPA
The Newman Choir celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2004. The choir accompanied by the B.P. Chamber Orchestra performed ‘Let Us Exalt Him’, a programme of Western classical and modern music. Just as the Israelites exalted the Lord after crossing the
International Eucharistic Congress
To mark the 40th anniversary of the International Eucharistic Congress and thus its birth, the Newman Choir performed at Don Bosco's Church, Matunga on December 5th, 2004.
‘Break Into Song’
Performed in September 2005 at St. Andrew’s Auditorium, Bandra and Birla Matoshree Auditorium, New Marine Lines.
‘Break Into Song’ showcased works by the world's most popular Gospel artists and groups including Don Moen, Ron Kenoly, Darlene Czech and the Celebrant Singers. The Newman Choir accompanied by none other than the legendary Monsorate Brothers and led by the talented Ronnie Monsorate captivated the audiences with a musical celebration of being a blessed people and an expression of the sheer joy that comes from such knowledge.
‘Mozart 250’: Requiem Mass in D Minor
Performed in January 2006 at the Tata Theatre, NCPA and conducted by visiting conductor David Bray.
‘Mozart 250’ was a tribute by the Newman Choir & Orchestra to the musical great that was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The choir heralded Mozart’s 250th birth anniversary celebrations with a successful concert titled ‘Mozart 250’. He wrote the Requiem mass in D minor (K. 626) in 1791. The Requiem is a Mass for the dead and Mozart used the five principal musical parts of the Catholic High Mass – Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei – to underpin the Requiem’s individual movements. It was Mozart's last composition and also perhaps one of his most personal, profound and recognised works.
The concert featured soloists Natasha Collaco, soprano; Sashikala Charles, alto; Patrick Coelho, tenor and Dr. Samuel Grubb, bass.
‘The Austrian Legacy’
Performed in October 2006 at the Tata Theatre, NCPA.
The Newman Choir earmarked the occasion of the Austrian National Day by dedicating a whole concert to the nation by featuring four of her greatest musical sons. Through ‘The Austrian Legacy’, the Newman Choir and Orchestra paid homage to the immortal music by Austrian composers Mozart, Hadyn, Schubert and Bruckner on Austrian National Day. The concert featured soloists Natasha Collaco, soprano; Celia Lobo, alto; Amar Muchhala, tenor and Dhilan Gnanadurai, bass.
The concert also brought about a change, and a significant one at that, in leadership with Ms Celeste Cordo taking charge of the Newman Choir at the behest of the Fr. J.B. Fernandes Sacred Music Foundation.
Performed in October 2010 at St. Andrew's Auditorium, Bandra.
The Newman Choir presented "Soul-Fa All" - a unique musical offering which showcased the stunning versatility and accessibility of contemporary sacred music - and proved that a spiritual experience need not always be a sombre affair but could be a lively experience for all music lovers. This performance introduced a modern spin to Christian music with sacred songs belonging to various modern genres such as Pop, Jazz, Gospel, Reggae, and Swing.
With the aim of making this event a musical night to remember, the 55-strong Newman Choir had joined hands with some of Mumbai's popular singers like Kim Cardoz, Dominique Cerejo, Bianca and Neuman Pinto, Samantha Edwards, Francois Castellino, Edward Mendes, Keegan D'mello and others. Backed by a live band, comprising some of the best musicians of Mumbai - Cassius Fernandes, Kenneth Rebello, Nizel D'lima, Stephen Fernandes, Beven Fonseca, Shirish Malhotra and Clifton Rodricks, they brought to Mumbai inspirational music that connected to the soul.
Performed on 19 December 2010 at Clergy Home, Bandra & Shanti Avedana Ashram.
Members of the Newman Choir brought in the yuletide spirit through carol singing at Clergy Home. From here, they proceeded to Shanti Avedana Ashram to sing and greet the terminally ill patients and their family members who were present. In keeping with the spirit of 'giving', small gifts were distributed at both venues.
‘Steve Ray Convention’
Performed on 29 & 30 January 2011 at Shanmukhananda Hall.
In January 2011, world renowned Apologist, Steve Ray, was in Mumbai for a two-day convention. The topics covered included, among other things, the place of Mary in the Catholic Church, the Eucharist, and Salvation. The sessions were extremely thought-provoking, and provided answers to many questions that we have regarding our faith.
The Newman Choir was privileged to be invited to provide the musical content for this convention, and performed several well-known hymns in line with the mood of the sessions.
The Foundation thanks the Family of Faith Foundation, which was the driving force behind bringing Steve Ray to India, for inviting the Newman Choir to sing at this convention.
Performed on 27 March 2011 at St. Peter's Church.
The Foundation, St. Peter's Church Bandra and Furtados presented the Newman Choir in "The Crucifixion", by John Stainer - A Meditation on the Sacred Passion of the Holy Redeemer. This Lenten Oratario was composed in 1887. The choir was conducted by Celeste Cordo, and accompanied by Marilynne Chhabra on the organ. Oscar Castellino was the guest Bass soloist along with Edward Mendes who lent his voice as the Tenor.
The Foundation thanks the Furtados for sponsoring the program, Varun Gonsalves for designing the poster, Marilyn Chabbra, Oscar Castellino, Edward Mendes and members of the Cadenza Kantori, who joined the Newman Choir for this program.
"The Crucifixion" was also presented on March 25, 2012 at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount, Bandra (W) and on March 31, 2012 at the Church of St. John the Evangelist (Afghan Church), Colaba.
The Bass soloist this time around was Joseph Gomes. The Foundation also thanks Joe Cordo for recording and uploading the videos onto YouTube.
Performed through 9 to 16 April 2011 at Holy Family Church, Chakala, Andheri and Our Lady of Nazareth Church, Bhyander.
For the third year in succession, the Newman Choir had the unique opportunity to team up with Joe Cordo Productions and Cadenza Kantori, to present the powerful musical entitled "The Witness". "The Witness" presents the story of Jesus, told and sung by Peter the apostle, and other men and women who knew the Master best.
A total of three presentations were made at two venues - Holy Family Church, Chakala, Andheri on April 9 & 10, and Our Lady of Nazareth Church, Bhyander on April 16. The Foundation was able to better reach out to the local populace at Bhyander through its rendition of "The Witness" in Marathi.
The Foundation extends its gratitude to Joe Cordo for this platform which, apart from providing a wholesome inter-active musical experience, offered a profoundly rich spiritual encounter to the singers, cast, and audience alike.
Held across various churches in Mumbai, spiritual recollections during the season of Lent are a recurring feature by the Newman Choir.
The format is fluid and includes thought provoking speeches by powerful speakers, music and singing that intertwine the “message”, graphical presentations, and in the more recent 'Restoration' of Lent 2008, drama.
The recollections are aimed at giving the people a wholesome experience to know God.
The Newman Choir today is a force to reckon with in the choral music world. It is one of the best sacred music choirs in the city and indeed the country too. The knowledge stems from the fact that the Newman Choir and its members have been invited to participate or collaborate in various prestigious events and occasions organized by churches and music foundations within the country and abroad.
Singing with the Newman Choir has helped me grow in my spirituality. I feel fulfilled; peace and joy fills my heart during every rehearsal. God bless the Newman Choir.
- June Chatterjee
Singing with the choir helps me to pray in a relaxed manner, giving my all to the Lord, while listening to my inner self.
- Enid Prabhu
I sing in the Newman Choir to give praise and glory to God our creator. In a manner of speaking, I feel I am giving back to God what he has given me.