Pre-Revels ’18: Crescendo
The stage was set. Microphones checked, and the judges were shown their seats. Anxiety levels of the participants soared just as high as excitement levels amidst the audience. Zamir, Crescendo’s eastern solo vocals event, was held outside the MIT Food Court on the evening of 19th February, 2018 as a part of Pre-Revels. Due to a large influx of participants, the competition was held over a period of two days.
As per the rules of this event, contestants were only allowed to sing Bollywood or folk songs. This exposure to such vastly different styles of music brought out the potpourri that is India’s diverse culture. The first day witnessed an overwhelming participation of 32 contestants, all fiercely competitive in their enthusiasm. They were allowed to have one accompanying musician or a background music track.
The time limit for the first round was roughly two and a half minutes. This was extended to four minutes for those who made it to the second round. The participants were judged on their ability to sense the melody and capture it, be in rhythm with the music, and the clarity of their voices, and pronunciation.
Genres sung varied from peppy, soulful Bollywood numbers to moving folk songs native to the singer’s land. The confidence of the contestants was bolstered by the high-spirited crowd which had gathered to witness the event. In return, participants won over the hearts of the audience with their mellifluous voices. In all, the event proved to be a perfect confluence of talent, culture, enthusiasm, and passion.
Crescendo’s solo western music event, Serenata, managed to mark its place in this semester’s Pre-Revels. Despite having fewer participants than previous yearss editions, the event managed to attract a decent crowd—participants and spectators alike—on both days. In the mere 3 minutes provided, the participants had to impress the judges whilst singing with the assistance of an instrument or a karaoke track.
Pleasant weather and pink hues of the sky just added to the already enjoyable evening. The performances presented an astounding variety, ranging from covers of songs spanning a vast number of genres, to even original compositions. Songs ranging from old-school Michael Jackson classics to evergreen pop songs managed to keep both the crowd and the judges engaged. “Because it is the second day of the event, there is a smaller crowd. But it always feels good to be performing on stage”, said Ishaan Narain, a participant, when asked how it feels to perform in the event.
Renditions of popular pop numbers like Adele’s hit number, Set Fire to the Rain, to older songs like Lips of an Angel and even a few rap numbers, catered to every sort of music lover in the crowd. The only thing that hindered the otherwise successful event, was the presence of mosquitoes as the evening progressed.
Of the approximately fifty contestants, around 10 will be selected to perform in the event to be held during Revels. From what we got to see during Pre-Revels, we can be assured of a fantastic event during the main festival as well.
Organised by Crescendo on the 20th February, Unplugged tickled everyone’s musical instincts with an evening full of performances galore. The crowd tapped their while subtly nodding their heads in rhythm with the ecstatic moments the participants had created. There was an abeyant atmosphere hanging over the event for a while, due to the insufficient turnout for hours together. It gradually swung into action thereafter, welcoming the late but generous flow of participants and audience both to the greens of the Quadrangle.
A line-up of songs by the eagerly awaited ProShow performers, Arjun Kanungo and When Chai Met Toast, kept audiences engaged in between performances. This was a preliminary round, which requires qualifying to perform against the bands from colleges across India during Revels ’18. The judges for the evening were Mr Vishnu Sharma, Mr Pavan Hiremath and Mr Dilifa Jossley. The rubrics involved skill set, effective time utilisation, continuity and overall synergy between the vocals and instrumental as a few criteria for judgement.
The setlist for the evening featured songs that pulled at heartstrings with their vintage allure, like country and blues, and groovier numbers from soft rock and funk. There were also a few beautiful renditions of some classic Hindi tunes, like Iktara, O Re Piya and Ho Na Ho Jo Bhi.
A few bands spurred an exuberant burst of energy in the audience with their jaw-dropping performances. To name a few, Cloudburst performed an original composition called ‘Vegetarian’ which made people go weak in the knees. Another was a beautiful marriage of instruments like flute, cajon, guitar and keyboard by the Garage Band, with the vocalist singing the high pitches of ‘O Re Piya’ exceptionally well.
The Spiritus brought on the stage what they liked to call a ‘desi-improvisation’ of the evergreen While My Guitar Gently Weeps by The Beatles. As it is rightly said, last but not least, the event was wrapped up after a performance linking the roots of music theory—a fusion of the classical Khamaj raga with western instrumentals. An air of exotic pleasure gently swept in. From the audience, Anushree Sachidanand says, “The energy of the artists and their original compositions couldn’t stop me from banging my head. It set the right tone with all of us here.”
All in all, the event spoke for itself. Under starry skies, MIT brimming with great taste in music is yet another teaser of what Revels has in store for us. To quote Aksharansh Bhatt, the Event Head, “The event turned out to be successful as the participants kept on pouring in. It not only made our job easier but was fun to be engaged in it.”
Harmony, Crescendo’s duet-singing competition, attracted a large crowd—humans and dogs alike—to the food court on the evening of the 23rd of February. A variety of teams came forth to showcase their talents and harmonise their way into the audience’s hearts. Although delayed, the event managed to attract hoards of students passing by, filling the atmosphere with an aura of melody and warmth.
The event began on a strong note with a soulful rendition of Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys. This was followed by plenty more compelling performances, some of which even had the artists sharing the limelight with dogs. A cover of Chura Liya got the judges jamming to its tunes and sending people down nostalgic lanes.
Teams lit up the stage with impressive performances of City of Stars and Chandelier, wooing the audience with their vibrato and vocal techniques. A team performing Something by The Beatles successfully managed to encapsulate the essence of Paul McCartney’s voice while adding their flair to it. The team encountered a minute technical glitch with their electric guitar having a bit of trouble getting into action in the beginning.
However, once it switched on, the duo managed to build a glorious harmony between their voices, accompanied by a beautiful amalgamation of electric and acoustic guitars. Moreover, a passionate medley of Khamaj by Fuzon and Soch by Hardy Sandhu, brimming with emotions, managed to grip everyone’s attention. Many such wondrous performances kept the audience hooked on for more music.
“The turnout was amazing. The performances keep getting better with every passing year!” said Ishaan Narain, one of the hosts for the evening. This rousing evening was not without a few minor setbacks, like loud mic malfunctions that had everyone jolting up, and the impersonal introduction of teams by slot numbers. The sheer determination of the organisers and participants, however, ensured that the show went on, providing an evening of harmony between music and friends.
Battle of the Bands
“Music is the strongest form of magic.”
It was this form of magic that changed a regular Sunday evening of procrastination and regret, and turned it into a night of amazing guitar riffs and mind blowing drum solos. Students from all over Manipal found their inner Slash and Jimmy ‘The Rev’ Sullivan and made their way to the AB-1 Quadrangle for Crescendo’s highlight event, ‘Battle Of The Bands’.
With fifteen bands performing and just four qualifying to perform in Revels, the stakes were high and the margin for error was minimal. The performances were filled with melodious tributes to some of the classics like Bon Jovi and Guns N’ Roses as well as renditions of some recent hits by artists like The Local Train.
The truly heartwarming part of the night was the significant participation of first years and the soulful original compositions that they performed for the large audience of music lovers. A performance which coupled the Indian classical raagas to the western tunes of rock and metal left everybody awestruck.The event had room for improvement from the performers’ point of view, with more than a few performers claiming that the sound setup was sub-par.
“When it comes to stage performances if the sound system isn’t that good, the focus is taken away from the main performers and their talents. Tonight could’ve been much better if the monitoring system were better managed.” says vocalist Goutham Manoharan. The technical difficulties didn’t hamper the audience’s spirits, though, as they all left with smiles on their faces after an evening spent headbanging and jiving along to some of their favorite songs.
The Library Auditorium saw music enthusiasts flowing in as Virtuoso, under the category Crescendo, kicked off on the third day of Pre-Revels, 2018. Audiences were enthralled by the spectacle of performances which they had the pleasure to witness. The event was strictly solo-instrumental by theme, which is a welcome change from the usual attention on vocals in such popular events.
The event started an hour late due to ‘technical glitches’, and one could sense the growing impatience in the audience, which quickly turned into cheering as the first performer took the stage. Talking to The MIT Post, the organisers remarked that 13 participants registered for the event. As the judges, Dr. Sumukha, and Mr. Vishnu Sharma took their seats, the event kicked off with high spirits as delegate number 1620 took the stage and delivered a melody on his guitar.
Credits: The Photography and Videography Dept, Revels ’18
As the event went on, the stage saw performances ranging from Indian Classical to Bass Solos. The most endearing aspect of the whole event was the fact that every artist brought something new to the table! One could listen to the flute, while the next participant would bring his Saxophone on stage, both of them leaving the audience awe-inspired.
Some performances were very well received by the audience; when Aadesh left the stage after delivering a magnificent guitar solo, the audience couldn’t help but give their best to him. Manas, a skilled drummer, took the stage and owned it, adding some much-needed energy and vigour to the event. Vinay took over the proceedings from Manas, and took it a notch up as he showed why bass guitarists add gravitas to music. Finally, Ananya Roy conjured a western classical medley of four songs on her keyboard, which was a delight for the purists sitting in the audience.
Ishaan Narain, a member of the audience, was “ecstatic to have made the decision to attend the event”, saying that he “thoroughly enjoyed” the evening and would love to attend the event in Revels as well. The audience seemed to share his sentiments too, as happy faces left the Library Auditorium when the event concluded.