We have learned, over the years, that the writing and managing of grants involves much more than mere accounting skills. For many years, Middlesex County has funded much of our lunchtime concerts with a generous grant from its Cultural and Heritage Commission. With the grant came new opportunities, new relations, and new friends.
While attending an event at the Commission’s office in New Brunswick, Janet and I met Ravi Swamy from the Academy of Indian Music (AIM) in South Plainfield. The three of us realized quickly that, despite our diverse backgrounds, our interest in authentic classical music was the same. So we arranged for a concert of the Indian ensemble SAPTASUR in our church.
How interesting an event this was! The musicians, Manoj Govindraj (baritone and harmonium) and Shripad Jail (tabla drums), sat on the rug in the Randolph Room, enchanting us from the first moment to the last with the wonder of their music. Did you know that music can go in a circle, returning to its point of origin? In Hindustani classical music, this seems to be a foundational structure. Each time the circle reached completion, the musicians looked at each other, smiled, and received applause. While this took place, I realized how temporary much of our striving and ambitious goal orientation really is.
The circular shape of the music did not hinder it from being connected with the surrounding world. During the discussion after the concert we learned, for example, that Hindustani music assigns the melodic scales to certain time periods during the day. The music of the morning is characterized by softer notes. As the day proceeds, the notes become sharper.
It was a most interesting event and very well attended. We wish to thank the musicians, as well as Ravi Swamy and Uma Narasimhan, the Director of AIM, who also attended the concert. If you are interested, check out the Academy’s website at www.aimarts.org.