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Don't stop believin', hold on to that feeling...'

We have been trying to hold on that magic feeling ever since we watched the spellbinding performances by the students and teachers of Music Central, and special guest Don Laz. We, friends and family of Music Central, were treated to ‘An Evening of Country’ featuring the Canadian country music singer-songwriter, Don Laz, on 7th March 2020. The live sessions, however, included popular music across a range of genres and times – from 70s pop (Mamma Mia) to 90s alt rock (What’s Up).

The idea of ‘Live Sessions’, where students of Music Central, who usually learn an instrument of their choice singly or in pairs, collaborate and practise familiar songs together as a band, came about a little over a year ago. The idea was enthusiastically supported by teachers at the school, for it gave students a chance to work together and to create a performance that would ultimately have an audience. Therefore, the performance that we watched last Saturday, in fact was a culmination of at least a year’s worth of rehearsals, practices and sheer hard work! So much credit here is due to the teachers, who didn’t just teach the students the songs, but mentored them to be performers and to interpret the music and make it their own. And so, the performances on the final day of the show were not just flawless, but it seemed to us that we were looking at a new generation of performers and musicians who were only going to enrich our musical culture here in Bangalore.

Our own son William was one of the performers on the keyboard for a couple of songs and as vocalist for two more. This new element of performing for an audience has transformed him in a manner that couldn’t be done otherwise. The move from performing for individual pleasure to a more interactive mode, where other human beings are part of one’s mental frame, has turned music for William into a means for social connexions that are as enriching as they are secure. His two years prior to Music Central under the tutelage of Lydia Solomon and continued four years at Music Central brought another happy reward and achievement on this evening when Don Laz came visiting.

Donald Lazar, or Don Laz, as he known in the world of music, made up the other half of the evening. He has a special connection with Bangalore, as this is where his family comes from, and he returns every year with his wife, Sandra, to visit the city. Don not only sang his songs but did something more—he added an invaluable educational element without the young performers and the audience realising it, by talking about the process of composition, which no television programme can do and which can only be achieved efficaciously in the warmth of this kind of evening that happily blurred the line between audience and performer.

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