It was a festive atmosphere with Sankranthi wishes and decorations in the hall welcoming the Telugu community on a chilly Saturday evening to the Telugu music show organized by Bay Area Telugu Association (BATA) and Sankara Eye Foundation (SEF). The floor of the theater lobby was decorated with colorful muggu made from multi colored grains and trees depicting the entrance to a typical house in Andhra Pradesh during Sankranthi time.
The light music concert titled “Roshni Telugu”, opened with a prayer song by Madhu followed by an old classic devotional song “Ghana Ghana sundara” sung by Raju Idury. The performance of these two items by Madhu and Raju Idury set the tone for an excellent concert. Madhu introduced well known playback singer Usha and welcomed her onto the stage to perform songs “Lali lali ani” and “Manohara”. Usha mesmerized the audience with her soulful rendition of “Manohara”. This was followed by new and old hits “Yamuna Theeram”, “Aa neeli gaganana”, “Nalla Nallani”, “Sakhiya Vivarinchave” performed by Arathi, Gayatri, Raju Idury, Prabhu, Sridevi, Kavitha, Ravi and Madhu. The attendees were warmed up with melodious tunes to get into the mood for enjoying the evening.
Usha encouraged the kids and tiny tots to come onto the stage and dance to the song “Jallanta kavvintha” from Geethanjali. Vijaya Aasuri encouraged parents of the children dancing on stage to dedicate the song to their kids by opening up their wallets and donate to Phase II of Guntur Eye Hospital. The parents responded to this plea and donations started pouring in big numbers. The audience was treated to a stream of hits ranging from fast dance numbers to melodious hits from the 60s. Vijaya Aasuri encouraged fans of Venkatesh to come forward and donate to song “Cheliya Cheliya” and fans of Mahesh Babu to donate to the song “Madhura Madhura”. A song which was played by a blind orchestra in the “Naa Autograph” movie was an appropriate song matching the blindness theme and brought in donations around $15,000 just for that song. Murali Krishnamurthy, chairman of SEF shared the SEF vision and thanked the community for the support. A SEF video played testimonials of the various needy blind that were able to reshape their lives once shattered with curable blindness.
After the dinner break of hot idlis, dosas and tea, the attendees were served by the song, “Vivaha bhojanambhu” from the film Maayabazar by a 5yr old “Saketh” who performed like a true professional. The pleased audience rose to cheers and donated close to $10,000 for this song. These generous donations came in song after song.
Usha and Vijaya proved to be very effective fund raising team working in tandem to get donations. Usha praised Bay Area Telugu community for their largesse in donating to the first phase of the hospital during TANA 2003 conference held in San Jose. She said that she was impressed by the community here and that was the reason for her to agree to perform again at this fund raising concert. There was thunderous applause and cheers in the hall when Usha announced that she would be singing “Ne toil sariga” which won her Nandi and several other awards. Donations of about $15,000 were made for this song. Chiranjeevi fans came to life with the whistles, cheers and their dances as Chiranjeevi songs “Chinnaga chinnaga” and “Kodite kottali” were performed and not to be outdone by other donated close to $10,000 for these songs.
The music team of Vara, Nagaraj, Raj, Farhan, Magesh, Venky, Anjan, Ravi and Ravi Gutala led by Madhu strived for perfection as they delivered song after song creating romantic moods and sometimes inspiration to help the fund raising efforts. It was an amazing show of talent from the musicians to bring music to all ages. It ranged from the old tunes creating nostalgic memories down the memory lane to the latest fast numbers which got the younger crowd dancing away to the beat.
It was not just a music show as it brought the community together to share the task of raising funds for the Phase II construction of the Sankara Eye hospital which has already completed 15,000 free eye surgeries to the needy Andhra citizens since it’s inception in March 2004. Vijaya Aasuri, the hostess for the evening created magic by inspiring the crowd to donate for a great cause and soon donations started pouring in from almost all of the audience. Sri Jayaram Komati pledged $12,500 and agreed to match the funds from the audience. The donation amount, $1,116 became a common occurrence in the evening with the generous Indian community opening their wallet to take part in the fund raising.
It was overall a memorable evening of entertainment and a proud achievement by the audience in playing a key role in Sankara Eye Hospital, Guntur Phase II project. It is a testament to what few talented musicians, a team of energetic and dedicated volunteers from BATA and SEF and most of all the generous audience and sponsors can come together to exceed expectations and raise $85,000 for a worthy cause. It was an incredible show of support from the Telugu community in the Bay Area giving back to their homeland to make a significant difference in the lives of needy blind.
BATA on the occasion of Sankranthi made a special announcement of “Andhra Bhavan”, a community center for Telugu people of the Bay Area. This center would be serve as a central place the community could use for conducting classes, meetings and community events. They announced $100,000 has already been raised towards the project.
For more information about SEF and its activities please visit
http://www.giftofvision.org or contact 1-866-SANKARA. For more details on BATA please visit http://www.bata.org.
This event was sponsored by Ravi Tax Preparation Services, Hyperion Solutions, Foresters and Wells Fargo Home Mortgage.