Pre-Revels ’17: Crescendo
The music category of Pre-Revels, Crescendo managed to transform the somber atmosphere of KC into a rather lively one. While the best of MIT competed against each other for a chance to represent their college at Revels’17, their music beats and vocal notes set the tone for the upcoming fest season. There were six different events under Crescendo, with each event testing a different aspect of music.
While electric guitars charged the air with their distortion effects, Unplugged was more on the acoustic side. Taking place in the MIT Quadrangle on 21st February, Unplugged is one of the many events which comes under Crescendo.
Unplugged started off on a great note, notwithstanding the delay in the event due to technical difficulties. Each team was required to have a minimum of three team members and at least two different instruments. For those bands which chose to perform an original composition, a copy of their lyrics was to be submitted to the judges and organizers beforehand. Every instrument was provided with the necessary equipment, and the vocalists had their share of microphones to choose from. With a rather long set of rules to abide by, the fifteen participating teams geared themselves up for their moment in the spotlight. From jazz and blues to rock and indie, students left no genre untouched as each band performed with vigor, passion and sheer joy. The crowd, albeit scarce, lost themselves to the rhythm as their passion for music took complete control.
The organizers of Unplugged did a splendid job of managing the crowd, motivating the participants and bringing the technical delays to a bare minimum. The hosts also kept the crowd interested during transitions, with quotes about music while the bands prepared themselves for their performances. The quality of music ensures that the final round of Unplugged during Revels’17 will not be worth missing out on.
Virtuoso, an instrument-solo event, took place on the third day of the pre-Revels week. Participants took to the stage to produce soothing notes. The event, which was scheduled to begin at 5:30pm, was delayed by an hour due to lack of participation.
Virtuoso took place in the Library Auditorium, with approximately fifteen participants vying for an opportunity to showcase their talent at Revels’17. Each participant was given a maximum of five minutes to display his or her talent. A rendition of Indian classical music on the Violin and a portrayal of devotional music by two flutists made tranquility prevail in euphony. The cadent beating of the horsehair bow on the violin, the plucking of the strings on the guitar and the notes produced by the air blowing through a percussion instrument scripted an ambient and melodious evening.
Serenata required the participants to sing their heart out in any non-Indian language. The preliminary round of the event was held on the 22nd and 23rd of February and witnessed a large amount of participation from students of all years. A handful of participants progressed to the next round which was scheduled to be held on the 26th of February.
As the crowds trickled in on the day of the second round and got themselves comfortable on the grass outside the Food Court, the organisers worked tirelessly, leaving no stone unturned to get the event off to a smooth start. Shortly after 7:15PM, the judges for the evening, Mr. Pavan Hiremath, Assistant Professor in the Mechanical Department and Mrs. Charlotte Mascreen, former Assistant Professor of the Humanities Department and current Director of Language and Communication in Pathshala Performance and Training Pvt. Ltd. arrived and the event commenced without further ado.
What followed next was two hours of blissful serenading as the crowd swooned to the music of the contestants, with some even opting to play guitar along with their song. With renowned songs such as Let It Go and Rolling In The Deep being dished one after another, the tumultuous applause from the audience kept coming in until the end. Serenata is the perfect example of how a few notes, in the right tune, can put an entire crowd into a trance.
If Serenata‘s singers managed to make you swoon to their notes, Harmony just doubled the trouble. Harmony was a duet singing competition which attracted a large crowd. The rules were simple; the music had to be submitted during registrations and a time limit was to be maintained by the participants.
A variety of teams came forward to showcase their talents and each one of them had their own unique sound and flavor to add to the melting pot of music, which the evening had turned out to be. A panel of judges were seen appreciating and critiquing the luscious melody from the performers who wouldn’t back out without giving their best contribution on the stage. Some performances managed to catch the attention of passer-byes and brought them to the Food Court, where the event was being held. A few examples of these spectacular performances were Arijit Singh’s masterpiece Kabira and David Bowie’s eternal composition, Space Oddity. A few participants even managed to exceed the expectation of the audience by performing two tracks instead of one. Anirudh Sharma, who was the organizer of the event, expressed the emotions of the audience beautifully: “When words fail, music speaks”.
Zamir – the eastern vocal competition under the category of Crescendo started at 6 pm on the evening of 21st February. As participants went about practising their respective songs, the organisers saw to it that the stage was ready for them. The music theme that the solo artists could sing ranged from light eastern non-classical songs to folk songs. They were also allowed to have one accompanist or a background music track.
Round one lasted for two consecutive days, and with the large number of registrations, the venue was filled with energy. With a time limit of two and a half minutes, the participants were judged on basis of their tune, rhythm, and clarity. Twenty teams qualified for the next round.
Round two was organised on Sunday, 26th of February. The time limit was increased to 4 minutes which gave the budding singers ample time to showcase their talent. The finalists from this round would then qualify onto the last and final round of the competition, which would take place during Revels.
Battle of the Bands
Blood may not have been shed in this particular battle – but that did nothing to draw from its solemnity. Warriors came in hordes from all corners of the college, instruments in tow, and congregated at the Quadrangle at 5:30. Although it got off to a tardy start, Battle of the Bands kept its promise by enthralling fans from start to finish.
The sound-check set the tone for the evening, as Kartikeya Rastogi, Co-ordinator of Crescendo, gave voice to the drums (only for sound-check purposes). The turnout seemed unnerving at first, with a meagre number of spectators. However, as the evening progressed, the sound levels and the audience number, both grew simultaneously. Faculty members – Suhas Kaushik, Dilifa Noronha, and George Varghese – were the presiding judges for the evening. At long last, the first band arrived at the scene. Swords drawn and drums pounding in the back to indicate the commencement of battle, they played adrenaline-pumping renditions of Readymade by Red Hot Chili Peppers and Shallow by Porcupine Tree.
In this manner, bands came and went – some more memorable than others. The Empyrean made ripples by choosing to play an original composition – setting the bar really high with their track, Soul Trippin’. When asked for comments, Kartikeya Rastogi remarked, “We did encounter a few minor glitches here and there. Those are part and parcel when organizing an event of a scale as large as this. All’s well that ends well, because it sure seems to me that everyone had a great time.”