What Makes Bethany a School with the Best Music Department in Bangalore
Music is the most potent instrument than any other for education -Plato
If one were to play a word association game, the first word that may pop up at the mention of Bethany is the word music. So deeply ingrained is the love of music in Bethany. Music is an inseparable part of every single event at Bethany. The music department is frantically busy the whole year through preparing the students for songs…be it for assemblies, elaborate prize days, choral recitations and numerous other events both in the school or outside it. The auditorium constantly resonates with the charged atmosphere of a hundred voices joined together in singing and most times accompanied by dance and movement as well.
There should be music in a child’s environment just as there exists in a child’s environment spoken speech –Maria Montessori, this couldn’t be more true of Bethany.
Apart from numerous activities which are packed into the school year like debates, talent hunt, mono acting, quizzes, sports events, lit fests which play an integral role in the all-round development of a child at Bethany, there is no doubt that music plays the most important role. One may be up on stage or seated in the audience when the singing simply envelopes everyone into its fold. It is nothing new to a Bethanite since they have been habituated to this right from the pre-nursery classes. The music teachers are so tuned to spotting children who sing that even the littlest ones are trained to give a solo performance during their choral recitation programmes. The tremendous confidence that a child develops is unimaginable. The child grows up feeling absolutely comfortable to go up on stage and has no trace of stage fear whatsoever. Teachers who have been at Bethany for decades feel a deep sense of pride when they spot a child they have taught in the younger classes going on to perform so beautifully on stage.
The school choir is carefully handpicked by the music department as they go on to represent the school at various events both within the state and outside it. According to Saroop Oomen, our Bethany choir conductor, being a part of this choir is a tremendous opportunity for the child as the Bethany Choir is known to perform some wonderfully innovative pieces. Saroop is known to add a few quirks which leave the audience pleasantly surprised….. a tabla piece in between a song, a beautifully choreographed dance weaved into the performance. The choir was one of the few school choirs invited to perform at the Festival of Festive Music hosted at the prestigious National Centre of Performing Arts in Mumbai. A proud moment indeed.
This year the Senior choir has been invited to participate at the Singapore International Choral Festival a huge step indeed to be able to prove their talent among so many competing choirs from around the world. It would be a transformational exposure for the young singers!
The Director Dr. Akash Ryall who is a virtuoso at playing the mouth organ is known to join in unobtrusively from the audience to accompany the choir on many occasions. The music department at Bethany boasts of immensely talented teachers, headed by Saroop Oomen. Joel, Deepak and a bunch of young talented musicians.
The Musicals which are held once every two years is the jewel in the crown of the Bethany cultural scene. The event only gets bigger and better every passing year. The children are auditioned right from primary school to grade twelve. The practice sessions begin three months prior to the D day. The auditorium is converted into two stages for the two set of casts for the morning and evening shows and for the next three months every Bethanite breathes, sleeps and dreams “Musical”. The school goes out and out to see that the show is of excellent caliber. The lights and sounds, the sets, the costumes, the LED walls are the best that Bangalore can offer and needless to say the shows on all three days are a sellout. Saroop’s take on participation in the Musical is that it is a life-changing experience for all the teachers, students and parent volunteers. So far Bethany has staged eight musicals since 2003, a challenging process no doubt but enriching the lives of so many children and creating precious memories which they will treasure all through their lives. The proceeds are all for a beautiful cause which is dear to everyone at Bethany, the Bethany Family Fund, and the Bethany Helpers Fund.
The beginning of the year sees the beautiful and moving valedictory ceremony an event which is solemn but at the same time so musically rich. The students don’t just walk in, they dance in rhythmically to the choir singing a song which leaves everyone in the audience teary-eyed. The atmosphere is so beautifully encapsulated with the music that one has to be there to appreciate the amazing ceremony.
Bethany High is a school that promotes performing arts like no other. It is one of the few ICSE schools that offer Drama and Western Music in the 9th and 10th standard board exams. The Drama course encourages children to step out of their comfort zones and portray challenging roles. The western music course gives the student the opportunity to choose between playing an instrument or voice and this helps them earn points for the ICSE exams.
Bethany High wholeheartedly supports children who step out of its portals to take part in events. The Harmony Choir recently saw three children from Bethany whose performance was closely followed on television. They had the opportunity to perform in front of famed musicians of India. They were supported wholeheartedly by the entire school and the Director even posted a video on Bethany’s official Facebook page encouraging the performers.
The only thing better than singing is more singing said Ella Fitzgerald and Bethany High believes in this one hundred percent!