L

ast month when the harvest festival Pongal was being celebrated in Tamil Nadu India, a small band of local Tamil singers from Boston (USA) came together for a musical evening, performing for an audience of over 300 people. The highlight of the event – all proceeds raised would go to support Isha Vidhya, educating rural children in India. In all, the event raised close to $6000 which will go a long way towards supporting education across rural villages in Tamil Nadu.

In November 2011, Priya Anand, a Carnatic vocalist and teacher of classical music, came up with the idea to start a fundraiser after seeing the work that Isha Vidhya has been doing in the villages across India. After talking to other singers in the Boston area, it was decided to dedicate the first music event in 2012 to support Isha Vidhya. The event was called Isai Mazhai, which means “A Melodious Shower of Music” in Tamil. What better way to start the New Year and Pongal!

Many volunteers were part of putting together the event, from booking a venue to getting sponsorships to building websites and email campaigns. Volunteers put up the Isai Mazhai website and spread the word online through local Indian associations and online magazines. The singers met every weekend to practice, finding the sound tracks as the event arrangements happened on the side.

There were over a dozen sponsors who contributed towards the fundraiser. The event was spread through word-of-mouth to friends and acquaintances. Volunteers decided to prepare food rather than buying food from restaurants, which helped to minimize expenses. A local restaurant, appropriately named The Pongal, also came forward to sponsor one entrée.

Music-lovers in New England experienced a truly melodious evening of Tamil film songs of various genres, from toe-tapping numbers to soulful romantic ballads to scintillating dance numbers performed by our seven local artistes. This fundraising concert for Isha Vidhya was organized by volunteers who were inspired to donate their talents and time to this worthy cause that focuses on educating underprivileged children in rural India.

Numerous volunteers worked tirelessly to help coordinate and conduct the event to make it a terrific success! Thanks to one and all.

If other cities in the US/Canada/UK/Singapore would like to host a similar fundraiser event or need more info please contact the US coordinator for more information. Any other ideas for fundraising are most welcome.