Temple-Song-Hearts in France

Temple-Song-Hearts is back giving concerts again and it feels great!

Its been a fair few years since our music group last performed to the public and I had forgotten what a rewarding experience it is. Since the group gained a new pianist; the excellent Eshana from Serbia, plus a number of other musicians headed up by the multi talented Utsava of Germany, we have been concentrating on improving the the sound of the group. Its not always easy as the members of the group are scattered all over Europe and we can't get together more than a couple of times a year. So it was with great anticipation that we headed to Montpellier in mid March to spend a couple of days rehearsing and then to give our first full concert.

Montpellier proved to be the ideal place to get together. It is a beautiful and mostly traffic free old city, we had great fun checking out the local shops, particularly an exquisite chocolate shop ( not great for the voice but wonderful for the spirits!). But most of our time was dutifully spent practising.

On the second evening we performed in a lovely little theatre, to a full house of friends, meditation seekers and general public. The concert went almost without a hitch (just a small interaction between cello and horn trying to decide where to meet on tuning towards the end of a concert under hot lights), and I felt the spirit of Temple-Song-Hearts was well and truly back with us. I find there is nothing more satisfying than singing your heart out performing Sri Chinmoy's music; the feeling of joy that comes from these pure, beautiful and prayerful songs. It was a joy we were able to share with our audience, as they all seemed to enjoy the concert.

The following day we were off to Marseille. Due to the challenges of fitting us and a 7 octave synthesiser into a van, plus very heavy traffic, we didn't arrive until 7.30pm, incidentally the time the concert was due to start! However, the good natured Mediterraneans didn't seem to mind the half hour delay and soon enough we started our second concert. This time we were in a lovely hall without the bright theatre lights and it was nice being able to see our audience. The concert went very well and afterwards some people stayed behind to chat to us. When a man approached me and said he was a professional pianist, part of me went 'Oh no, he will have noticed all our little errors', but instead of criticism we received generous praise and I was very touched when said how moved he had been by the music. When this was followed up by a lovely lady saying that the concert had brought tears to her eyes and that "today God has come as a woman" I knew that once again Sri Chinmoy's music had got right to the hearts of its listeners.

I have to thank our French friends that went to great lengths to make sure we were really well looked after, especially Gambuja, Padmasini and Keyarie, who made the whole experience possible.

Shankara Smith

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