Pittsburgh Sahana’s Successful Fundraiser


By Subash Ahuja          subash.ahuja@gmail.com

 

It was prime time for Pittsburgh SAHANA when it presented an evening of enchanting Bollywood Music in a well-attended program on May 20, 2017 at the Marshall Middle School in Wexford. The fourteen-member band with its live orchestra took young and old alike down memory lane from Shankar-Jaikishan to Shankar Mahadevan. Many in the excited crowd were on their feet dancing in the aisles and wherever.

Girish Godbole, an entrepreneur in technology companies, and Nakul Ranade, a marketeer, emceed the program, humoring the audience with Bollywood trivia. The vocalists — Akshay Hari, a two-time Sa-Re-Ga-Ma-Pa finalist, and Vaibhav Karandikar, Asha Rajawat, Gayathri Shriram and Nakul Ranade — although referred to amateurs, were truly star quality.

Sahana group taking their final bow at the end of the program.

While pursuing their love for music, they have been giving concerts since 2009, successfully raising funds for various charities. They raised around $25,000 in this concert for the Association for India’s Development (AID and www.aidindia.org), a volunteer organization founded in 1991 and with 36 chapters in U.S. cities. AID volunteers before the program talked about the various women’s empowerment projects they operate in India. Over the years, SAHANA has raised over $110,000 benefitting various charities in India and the U.S.

Originally formed ten years ago as a loose group of music enthusiasts by Shriram Murthy, an engineer, and his wife Gayathri, an accountant, when they first moved to Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh SAHANA has grown into a full-fledged band with a mission. Arunkumar Sanjeevi and Niveditha Mohan, both physicians, have opened their house to the group for their meetings and music practice.

Remarkably, the youth members of the group — Vikaas and Samyukta Arunkumar, and Keerthana Shriram — inspired by Pittsburgh SAHANA and their parents, have taken lessons in piano, guitar, drums, keyboard, saxophone and trumpet in their high schools. Now they are part of the group.  Ganesh Narayanan, deft on keyboard and drum pads, and Chockiah Suresh, facile on  his guitar, are the remaining valuable members in the ensemble. The SAHANA musicians plan to continue making a difference in people’s lives through entertainment while having fun with their passionate interest in music.    ♣

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