A Postcard from Sunbeam School Lahartara – The Music and Mysticism of Banaras
Posted: 10 March 2021
On 7th October 2020, we, at Sunbeam School Lahartara, Varanasi, India got an opportunity to take some of the Round Square members on a journey to unveil the ethos of Banaras. The Round Square Postcard call that was planned for 13-15 age range was a soul stirring experience with an inspiring keynote session, stimulating baraza discussions, meditative musical performances and was a great way to explore the vibrancy and chaotic pleasure of the oldest living city of the world. 16 Round Square schools participated in the Postcard Call connecting from across India, Oman, Australia, Tanzania, South Africa and Bangladesh along with the host school.
We had started planning for the event as soon as the date was secured in the Round Square calendar. As this theme was very close to our heart, we wanted everyone to get the feel of the magic, mysticism and music of Banaras. When planning for this event the one thing all of us had at the back of our mind was to create the perfect aura and environment to help people realise that to get to know about vast variety of music is to experience utmost happiness and enjoyment.
The Sunbeam Lahartara team planned everything with great enthusiasm and tried sharing the various facets of Banaras through the design and other elements of the Postcard invitation, itinerary, brochure, etc. We wanted everyone to feel the magic and mysticism of Banaras through the Welcome Video that we shared with the participants before they connected on our call.
The participants were also requested to share a picture in advance that represented their own musical heritage which was collated and presented during the session.
To further enlighten them with the details of Banaras, we had also named the Barazzas after the various names of the cities – Banaras, Kashi, Varanasi, Anand Kanan, Rudravasa, Avimukta, Ramya. Our baraza leaders also researched a lot to ensure that they had in-depth knowledge of the Banaras Gharana and its rich musical heritage. Our Baraza leaders received training to help them with the break-out rooms.
After the brief introduction of the magic, mysticism and music of Banaras we followed our age-old tradition of Atithi Devo Bhava where our respected Board Members gave their welcome address as moved towards Shubh Swagatam and welcomed the participating schools.
After the traditional welcome, an unveiling Shaan-e-Banaras – Sunbeam staff members and friends gave a glimpse of the musical legacy of Banaras where Ms. Kirti mesmerised everyone with her vocal rendition, Ms. Gitika added to the sweetness with her chords on the Sitar, Mr. Vaibhav raised the tempo with the beats on the Tabla and Mr. Aakash sealed the aura with his melodious tunes on the flute.
This dialogue of music continued and allowed the students to learn further about the various musical heritages from different parts of the world as the participants spoke about the same in various breakout rooms. Here, the students participated in various fun activities like “2 truths and 1 lie”, “describe your weather” with an emoji, “passing the fruit” etc.
During the breakout session, each delegate got a chance to speak about their musical heritage as their own pictures were shared on the screen.
Bollywood hits, Roobaroo and Baaton Baaton Mein gave the opportunity to further strengthen the Global connect and to appreciate music beyond boundaries where we heard the submission and feedback of the participants. The event ended with the expression of Abhivaadan (Farewell greeting) where we expressed our gratitude to all those who made the event possible.
One of the main challenges was connectivity and ensuring that all the team members, especially the performers, had a stable network connection as that was important for the smooth flow of the event.
Another minor challenge was to show various facets of Varanasi within the stipulated time frame as the legacy is immensely huge and what we could share was just a small glimpse of it.
We, at Sunbeam School Lahartara, believe in providing our students the wings to fly high, explore the world and become global citizens while staying firmly connected to the roots. This event gave them yet another opportunity to learn more about not just their own culture and heritage but also about other musical heritage from different parts of the world.
This also further strengthened the spirit of Teamwork and enhanced their Communication Skills and Leadership Qualities.
Participating schools were given the chance to consider the mystical qualities of music and culture and to compare and contrast various examples.
Long Term Outcomes
This event helped in lighting a flame of curiosity in everyone’s heart to know further about the musical heritage and culture of different parts of the world. This has also helped in further developing Appreciation for Diversity as it made everyone realise how similar yet different the cultures and musical heritage can be and how music flows beyond boundaries and binds all hearts together.
Proper planning and good execution through excellent Teamwork is what can make an event successful.
- Make sure that everyone feels comfortable and feels free to speak through various ice breaking activities.
- Make sure to use simple language so that everyone can understand it.
- Make sure that the environment in the Baraza is informative, friendly and comfortable for one and all.
- Properly plan the activities before the session to avoid any confusion during the event.
- Be friendly and give equal opportunity to everyone.
- In case of any last-minute issue, stay calm and composed and try to find an alternative.
Author: Mr. Aditya Choudhury, Dean, Academics and Innovation, Sunbeam Group of Educational Institutions & RS Representative of Sunbeam School Lahartara