David Sebastian was the former organist at St Mark’s Cathedral and Bengaluru-based musician Avinash Grubb trained under him for a couple of years. A lexicographer by profession, he was passionate about classical music and it was largely due to his efforts that the pipe organ at St Mark’s is still in working condition.
Though David Sebastian passed away 2004, his memory is still alive. “In the years since his passing, I kept looking for a way to preserve his legacy,” says Avinash, 39, an audiologist. “Though I started learning the organ with Dr Arul Siromoney at St Andrew’s Church in Chennai, it was professor Sebastian who taught me pedal technique and helped me hone my skills.” Work took Avinash to the Leprosy Mission Vocational Training Centre in Nashik where patients were being fitted with hearing aids. In rural India, the stigma of being born to parents with leprosy still exists and those ostracised struggle to find jobs. Institutions like the mission are greatly benefitted by donations and Avinash realised a concert would not only aid them, but also honour the memory of his beloved teacher.
“This is the second year we are holding this concert, titled ‘He Touched Me’ after Jesus’ compassion for lepers and outcasts of society,” says Avinash, adding the first edition took place in December 2018.
‘He Touched Me’ will feature a wide range of organ music to appeal to all audiences with pieces by Mozart, Handel and Bach as well as more contemporary music by John Rutter, Sandi Patti and others.
The concert will see musicians of the city join hands for this cause. Sandra Oberoi and The Harmony Chorus will be accompanied by Arun Rozario on the vilolin and Avinash Grubb on the organ with special performances by vocalists Carlton Braganza and Daniela Rebelo.
“The members of the choir range in age from 18-75,” says Avinash with a grin, promising the concert is bound to have something for everyone interested in this genre of music.
(He Touched Me will take place at St Mark’s Cathedral, MG Road on November 24 at 6.30 pm. Entry free. All donations will go to the Leprosy Mission Trust India)
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