India Post News Service
On Sunday, Apr 24, 2022, Fremont’s Smith Center Amphitheater shed its recent placid demeanor to come alive with color, music, and activity. That day, Kannada Koota of Northern California (KKNC) celebrated its first in-person event of the year, ‘Yugadi Sambhrama’ in this open-air venue. The natural backdrop of flowing hills added apt symbolism since ‘Yugadi,’ the Kannada New Year, also celebrates the turn of seasons and Mother Nature’s resilience.
700+ attendees enjoyed an eight-hour event that comprised ten entertaining programs involving 90+ performers across all ages. 500+ boxes of special food and countless glasses of tasty, refreshing beverages replenished the energy of this energetic crowd.
The event started with the traditional Meravanige (procession) where folk dance performers lead a group of men, women and kids, dressed in their traditional Karnataka attire, along a small route. The deity pooja at the end of the meravanige officially kicked-off the event. What followed was a packed agenda of engaging and entertaining programs. The talented kids of KKNC captivated the audience with their singing and dancing; including a flash dance segment. Several teams of local KKNC artists presented engrossing programs that included classical dance, sandalwood/film dance performance, folk dance, a comedy skit and a unique veena performance of film songs.
The audience was also treated to two exceptional programs by guest artists who’d traveled from India. The program involving Raj Shetty, the acclaimed writer, actor and director of Ondu Motteeya Kathe and Garuda Gamana Vrishabha Vahana, gave the audience a glimpse of his talent, presence of mind, candor, and humility. Audience thoroughly enjoyed this segment which was a combination of interview, dance and scripted performance. The event finale, musical bonanza by Ajay Warriar and Team, was equally mesmerizing. Ajay Warriar, Deepak and Prakash Anthony treated the expectant audience to several fan-favorite numbers. The crowd, Raj Shetty among them, danced and sang along with the performers, filling the stage and the evening with their energy.
While an open-air venue was selected to allow for social distancing, by the end of the day, KKNC’s event had achieved its objective of bringing its community members together, reducing any emotional distance the long, trying days of pandemic may have created. All in all, the energy of performances, the sweet sound of chitchat and laughter, the taste of delicious food, the smell of the outdoors – and the bright sun – all made it a very memorable day!