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Shillong choir founder named to World Choir Council

 New Delhi, June 1 (IANS): The founder, director and pianist of the prestigious Shillong Chamber Choir, Neil Nongkynrih, has been nominated to the World Choir Council, the apex body of choral music, said an official statement on Thursday.

The council will have delegates from 70 countries, 120,000 choirs and 4.8 million singers, for four years 2012-2016.

The Shillong Chamber Choir is one of the oldest choral groups in India and is sponsored by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), a statement of the ICCR said Thursday.

The group was especially invited to perform before US President Barack Obama during his official visit to New Delhi, as well as for President Pratibha Patil earlier. The choir group has won three awards at the World Choir Games - an international event themed around choral music.

The council meets every two years during the World Choir Games and makes a joint resolution for the International Music Council of Unesco.

The 2012 World Choir Games will take place in Cincinnati in the US July 4-14 in 23 categories.

"The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) has been instrumental in all the breakthroughs of the Shillong Chamber Choir like sending us to Sri Lanka and Toronto. Later, they sent us to the World Choir Games where we won three gold diplomas for India," Neil Nongkynrih said.

The history of choral singing in India dates back to Vedic ages, when boys chanted musical "mantras" from the scriptures during rituals and at residential Vedic schools.

Later, the arrival of Christian missionaries introduced Christian choral music traditions in parishes and schools run by missionaries.

The music is associated with religion and spirituality and is sung in "group harmony" with tonal variations.

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