A beautiful tune sails through the doors of a small green room packed with around 25 lively singers. Some touch high notes while others delve deep into lower scales. But despite the unique and textural differences in their voices, when strung together, they produce a beautiful melody that rings as one. This is the Western Music Society (WMS) of Lady Shri Ram College, a bunch of students brought together by their passion for music and their commitment to giving every event and competition their best shot. “It’s not just about winning. I auditioned for WMS mostly for the music. Apart from that, there seemed no better opportunity at getting a chance to nurture my talent and have fun at the same time,” Said Tanushree Sarkar, a core member of the WMS.

It seems like this society blossomed overnight, starting out as a small band singing during college assemblies, to a 25 plus choir, belting out complex and beautiful pieces, much to the awe and pleasure of the judges as well as the audience. The WMS reached its peak under the leadership of Grace Lalkhawngaihi and was continued under the guidance of Sadhvi Krishnamoorthy, the most recent president. Referred to as ‘Mother’ and ‘Compulsive Hugger’ by her troupe, Sadhvi’s warmth seemed to work its charm as the society members came together to shine not just individually, but more importantly as a group. The president for the coming year is Gitana Singh, who also promises to be as brilliant as her predecessors. When asked what her expectations for the year are, she said, “As president, what I hope for is to see every member giving in their best to the society. For the past two years WMS has become such a big part of me and we’ve had the best times together. I think that it is most important for everyone to enjoy being a part of the society, to feel a sense of belonging and a willingness to give in their best to it. I expect us to carry on this spirit of oneness and competition, friendship and most importantly, of music which we have upheld for all these years.”

Over the past one year, the list of laurels won by LSR for their Western Music Society has increased. Their annual piece was called ‘Nightingale sang in Berkeley Square’, a beautifully haunting jazz piece that took the crowd by storm. They won the first prize at the Stephen’s, Miranda, Venky, Gargi, CBS and Kirori Mal fests as well as LSR’s own Tarang. Apart from this, WMS came second at the IIT Delhi fest and third at the IP, JMC and the BITS Pilani-Goa fest. All of this, along with a special mention at the Kamala Nehru Fest. Many of the solos, duets and trios were also critically acclaimed. As for LSR’s rivals, Shruti Sharma had a point to add, “The toughest competition we have is from Venky and JMC. But some amount of competition is fun, it motivates you to do better, and you also learn a lot by observing and appreciating the other groups that perform.”

The competitive piece received a lot of praise as it was a unique and difficult composition to master. “This song was an exciting step for WMS LSR, towards the blue notes of jazz. I think it was a brave and brilliant idea put forth by our president, Sadhvi. As a team, both of us were happy about working on a versatile and well arranged song that gave all our members with different vocal ranges a fair shot at performing. As a singer, I enjoyed the challenge of the meter and key changing at certain parts of the song!” Said Shibani Budhraja, last year’s secretary of the WMS.

The strength of LSR’s Western Music Society lies in the bond they share with each other. The members work diligently, sometimes late into the day, just to perfect one paragraph, or the way a particular set of ‘OOHS’ sound. “I love the fact that we’re like a family. I personally believe that the group dynamics is brilliant. Everyone has got each other’s back. We may be a bit of a motley crew, as no two people are the same, nor do they have the same taste. But we all complement each other,” says Tanushree Sharma, a soon to be third year student who dreads the day she will have to leave the society for good.

Sure enough, the effect of watching these nightingales on stage is simply breath-taking as they stun you with their four part harmonies and soothing solos. There is definitely some ‘magic abroad in the air’ as you drift along with the music, mesmerized by their lilting tunes.

That certain night, the night we met,

There was magic abroad in the air.

There were angels dining at the Ritz,

And a nightingale sang, in Berkeley Square.



Photo credits:-Additi Seth The second week of college at LSR was bustling with activity as various societies were holding their annual auditions. The corridors were swarming with enthusiastic freshers as they hopped from one society board to another, furiously scribbling down the dates for the different auditions. “I am going to try out for as many societies as I can. There are so many options here, from music and dance to film appreciation and social work. I can’t wait to take part!” said an excited Nimisha, one of the many first years. Boasting of about 21 active societies, LSR offers a wide range of options when it comes to extra-curricular activities. The past week consisted of NSS recruitments, where students were assigned NGOs of their choice to work for a year. The coming of this week began with both the Indian Music Society as well as the Western Music Society holding their auditions on Tuesday, 31st July. “75 students showed up for the IMS Auditions, out of which we chose 22. This was the preliminary round, where the candidates will be singing for the Special assembly put up on Independence Day. We asked them to sing any song of their choice. However, the second round of auditions, which will be held on 16th August, are for the core group of the society. This will only be open to people with a classical background,” said Parampara, the president of the Indian Music Society. The Western Music Society had a similar story to share. The numbers were larger, with 90 students turning up, causing the auditions to be split across two days. Gitana Singh, the president of WMS, was in quite a dilemma, “I asked each student to sing one or two songs of their choice that best represent their talent. After that, I tested their range to see how high or how low they could go. The students who auditioned were very talented. I honestly found it very difficult to choose between so many singers. In the end, I settled for 16 singers and 6 instrumentalists. Out of these, a few will be added to the already existing core group after the Independence Day assembly, for inter-college and out-station competitions.” Close to 300 students turned up to shake a leg at the Dance Auditions held on Wednesday and Thursday. Anandini, the president of the Dance society, was issued the hard task of selecting the gems among the sea of candidates. When asked how the auditions were conducted, she said, “The LSR dance society is divided into four sub groups-Choreo, Western, Classical, and Folk. Each student could audition for all four, and to facilitate this, our dance team divided itself into four groups and asked each hopeful to approach the group for which they wanted to audition. They brought their own music and danced for 2-3 minutes. There is no preference given to freshers or ECA students, and we encourage everyone to take part.” The end of Thursday saw the first round of dance auditions close with 60 students chosen. Out of these, only 20 students will finally make it after the final round of auditions, scheduled for early next week. “We would love to take more students, but we have to be extremely selective when it comes to selecting for our college dance team,” says Anandini. The Debating society held its much-awaited auditions on Thursday. These began at 4 in the afternoon and stretched on until 7 in the evening. “They gave us 8 different topics early in the morning, such as whether Sarkozy banning the Burqa was justified, should the UN be disbanded, and so on. My topic was concerning the Censor Board of India and the fact that it oversteps boundaries. They threw many questions at me, and then asked me to turncoat after that. I was given 5 minutes, and it was probably the most nerve-wracking argument I have ever had to give,” says Harnidh Kaur, a first year History student who hopes to get in to the Debsoc. Friday saw the arrival of the Dramsoc auditions, where 124 expressive students couldn’t wait to put on an act for their judges. They were allowed to prepare a piece of their choice in either Hindi or English. “The drama society is divided into street plays and stage performances, as well as on the bases of language-English and Hindi. However, the initial auditions are taken only for events that are coming up, in this case Independence Day. This is an open society, only the union members are a permanent part of it. Hence, every actor needs to re-audition for a new production. From 124 candidates, we have chosen 37. The second round will be on Saturday, when we will bring this list down to 15,” say Yama, the president of Dramsoc, LSR. She continues, “This year, the quality of acting was extreme. Some performances were brilliant and we were awestruck by their acting and enunciation. On the other hand, we had to face some performances that we hoped would end immediately.” With many more Society orientations waiting in line next week, such as Projekt-the photography and film club, freshers as well as the seniors can’t wait to begin exploring what LSR has in store for them this year. With its dynamic and talented crowd, one can easily say that LSR societies are ready to take the DU world by storm!  ]]>