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Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA, Atlanta chapter organized its fundraising event, 'Ekal Holi Sangeet Sandhya', an evening of melody with the Manoj Mishra Musical Group at the Ashiana Banquet Hall on Sunday, March 20th. Mishra was accompanied by Sa Re Ga Ma 2007 finalist Nirupama Dey.
The packed hall of Ekal supporters and well-wishers helped raise over $ 30,000 through the evening with pledges to support 70 Ekal schools at $365 per school. It was heart warming to see people come forward to support Ekal schools instead of spending on birthdays. One six-year old donated $143 that he had received in birthday gifts to Ekal. The Rotary Clubs of Clayton County matched the first four schools while the Rotary Club of Lake Spivey matched two schools. Raffle tickets sold for a dollar each raised two schools through the evening. One of the two winners of the raffle draw, donated his $50 Kroger gift card, sponsored by Rajkamal Foundation, back to Ekal.
The entertainment group took the audience on a musical journey that traversed back and forth from the era of KL Sehgal to the golden years of Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle to recent hits like 3 Idiots.
Lead singer Manoj Mishra said singing for Ekal was like singing for God. An experienced singer who started his music career at the age of 16, Mishra has been singing for different TV shows, feature films, Bhajans and Ghazals for brands like Sony, T-Series, Venus and many more. Manoj has performed with playback sings Abhijeet, Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik, Anuradha Paudwal and others.
A very talented singer with a great ability to connect with the audience with his wit and humor, Mishra’s repertoire included Mukesh's 'Jo Tumko Ho Pasand Wahi Baat Kahenge’ KL Sehgal’s ‘Gaam diye mushkil’, Kishore Kumar’s ‘Tum bin jaaon kahan’, Rafi’s classical ‘Madhuban mein radhikha nache re’, ‘Laaga Chundari mein daag’ and the breezy ‘Taarif karoon kya uski’, Amitabh Bachchan’s ‘Rang barse bheegi chunar wali’ and several more.
Nirupama Dey started her professional career in 2001. She was a finalist at Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2007 and won the hearts of millions of viewers worldwide. She gave Mishra able support in her mellifluous voice, belting out old and new hits. Her collection for the evening included Asha Bhosle’s evergreen hit ‘Jaayiye aap kahan jayenge’, Lata Mangeshkar’s ‘Tere bina jiya jaye na’, ‘Aaja re pardesi’, and ‘Aayega aane wala’, the recent hit from 3 Idiots, ‘Zubi zubi pampara’ and several more.
The two singers came together for some memorable duets from Hindi cinema like ‘Bekhudi mein sanam’, ‘Dil tadap tadap ke’, ‘Who jab yaad aaye bahut yaad aaye’ and several more through the evening.
The singers were accompanied by Rajendra Nakashe, on the dholak and octopad, Pramod Katekar on the guitar and Ashwin Rokade on the keyboard.
After the musical program, southeast regional president, Chander Aggarwal, director, Dr. Basant Tariyal and Atlanta chapter president Shiv Aggarwal presented certificates of appreciation to members of the musical group. Rachna Gupta hosted the evening.
SEWA Atlanta and Maharashtra Mandal supported the Ekal fundraising initiative.
Ekal Vidyalaya is a large grassroots movement of over 34343 teachers, 6,000 voluntary workers, 22 field organizations (scattered in 22 Indian states), and eight support agencies according to its website. The foundation's goal is to reach 100,000 villages in the India tribal belt by 2015. Ekal's philosophy is to take a holistic approach to social and economic development, providing primary school education for children, as well as healthcare, livelihoods and empowerment education for the entire village.