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Geethavani 2013 reaches new height; PM Hon.Julia Gillard sends her greetings
Posted on: 24/06/2013 (Monday)
The mega music competition Geethavani Awards 2013 hosted by the Jaffna Hindu College Old Boys’ Association of Sydney (JHC OBA Sydney) was taken to a new height this year with popular Indian artists in the judging panel. The Geethavani Awards 2013 was held on Saturday 22nd June 2013 at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sir Clancy Auditorium, High Street, Sydney from 6:30 pm till 12.50AM on the following day. The OBA Sydney was very pleased to have received the Prime Minister Hon.Julia Gillard’s greetings for Geethavani Awards 2013. The winners of Geethavani Awards 2013 were Keshika Amirthalingam (Junior), Swathi Krishnamoorthy (Youth), and Muthulingam Jeyabarathithasan (Senior); Raguram Navaratnam with Gnanamagal Asokan won the duet category.
 
Geethavani Awards, an evening of singing competition and scene songs, is an iconic event in the OBA Sydney’s calendar and being conducted for the 8th year in Sydney, Australia. It is the first ever Tamil singing competition in Australia which was initiated and hosted by the JHC OBA Sydney in 2006 to promote local artist and bring out new talents. Since then it has continued to grow in quality and popularity annually and this year it was taken to a new height by bringing in and integrating the music industry experts from India with local artists and singers. For the first time, this year’s Geethavani Awards was conducted by famous Indian artists and it has set a new platform for Sydney singers to perform and grow under the guidance of South Indian film industry artists.
 
Well known playback singers, Kalpana Ragaventhar and Anantha Narayanan conducted the audition process, mentored the contestants and assisted with judging the contestants together with audience of the night. The musical show was directed by internationally recognised musician Satish Kumar Govinthan, who was accompanied by renowned artists from the popular super singer orchestra. Our special singer Kalpana Raghavendar is the daughter of Music Director, Playback singer, Actor, T.S.Raghavendar and singer Sulochana Raghavendar. Kalpana is trained in both Indian Classical and Western Classical. She started her career as a stage singer at the tender age of five and has performed in more than 3000 shows all around the globe. Today, she has more than 1500 recorded Tracks to her kitty and has received the title "Sangeetha Kala Bharathi" from Bharath Kalachar. She has also bagged the title in Asianet’s Idea Star Singer Season 5. Anantha has learnt Carnatic Classical Vocal for ten years from various Gurus and has worked as an assistant to Mellisai Mannar Sri M.S. Viswanathan for more than 17 years from 1996. Anantha has sung for a number of films in various languages and has performed in many stages across the globe with nearly all leading music directors and playback singers. He also has participated in various singing and judging programmes at Jaya TV, Sun TV, Kalaignar TV, Mega TV, and Podhigai TV.
 
 
These two singers were well supported by Satish’s orchestra from Chennai. Satish Kumar Govinthan (Director cum keyboardist) together with Mr. Sundaresan (leading guitarist), Mr. Nagarajan Chithapoo (popular rhythmist & mimic), and Mr. Joseph (leading drummer & rhythm programmer) kept the audience glued to their chairs till the end, close to 1.00 AM.  Satish’s orchestra has worked as full support musicians to legends like Thiru MSV, Thiru Deva, and Thiru Gangai Amaran. Satish has his own digital recording studio 'SMS' in Chennai  and his orchestra has organised popular TV shows like "Nenjam Marappathillai" for Kalaigner TV, "Thulladha Manamum Thullum" for Doordharshan, "Paatudharbar" for Sun TV, "Endrendrum MSV" for Mega TV etc. Satish’s Orchestra was well supported by local artists Ashwin Nair, the co-founder of the Indian cinematic band “Eastern Empire”, with violin, Jose Mathew, a member of many leading orchestras and bands, with the base guitar, Pratheesh Gurunathan, who has mastered the flute from the age of 6 and staged his arangetram in 2011, with flute, and Janakan Suthanthiraraj from Eastern Empire Musical Band playing the miruthangam. 
 
Geethavani 2013 venue was changed to UNSW Clancy Auditorium to accommodate a larger number audience than previous years. As the venue is new to many participants and also due to the heavy shower, the organizers were compelled to delay the start of the Geethavani 2013 programme. Though it started 40 minutes behind the schedule, once it started it was full of vibe and excitement and all the audience were glued to their seats till the end of the programme, which went past midnight. The UNSW auditorium which has a capacity of nearly 950 seats was fully packed till the end. It was a welcoming gesture by the organizers for arranging transport from Pendle Hill via Strathfield to the venue.  
 
Not faltering with Tamil traditions and customs, the entertainment cum competition started at around 6.40 PM with lighting of the traditional oil lamp (Mangala Vilakku), Australian national anthem, Thamil Thai Vazhthu, and College song.  Mr.S.Ponnampalam, former Principal of Jaffna Hindu College, and his wife together with Mr.S.Mahendravarman, President of OBA Sydney, and his wife lighted the oil lamp. Then the President of Sydney OBA welcomed the guests. With that welcome address ending, the stage was opened for singing competition and musical delight. Satish’s orchestra set the mood with their instruments doing the magic. And Ananth started off with the opening song “Isaiyal vasamaka ithayamethu” and then came Kalpana singing “Anpendra mazhaiyile” from film “minsara kanavu”. After a little bit of entertainment from the Indian artists, the main agenda on the event schedule started; that is the singing competition.
 
This year’s competition too as usual was conducted under 4 categories. Category 1 was junior solo for 12 – 17 age group. Category 2 was youth solo for 18 – 34 age group and category 3 was senior solo for over 35-age group. The fourth category was duet for age 12 and above. The contestants to perform on the final day at the Geethavani stage were selected from a large number of applications and the selection process was independent and impartial with the highest degree of fairness. 
 
Under junior category, Abinaya Prabahar, Selvaharini Sritharan, Keshika Amirthalingam, and Srinarain Sritharan were the final contestants. Nivethiththa Roshananth, Sathyan Sivanathan, Kuruthevan Srignananathan, Swathi Krishnamoorthy, and Kumaran Thanikasalam were the finalists of youth category. Under senior category, the finalists were Muthulingam  Jeyabarathithasan, Sathya Gnanasekaran, Pamela Jegam, and Nadarajah Gowripalan. And the duet finalists were Suganthi - Rajesh Kumar duo, Chitra - Venkatraman duo, Anuradha - Jayakumar duo, and the duo Gnanamagal Asokan and Raguram Navaratnam. It was a closely contested competition where all the finalists in every category were equally good. The winners of each category were chosen by the votes of the audience. The Winners were:
 
Geethavani Awards- Junior (12 – 17 age group):  Ms. Keshika Amirthalingam
Geethavani Awards-Youth (18 – 34 age group):  Ms. Swathi Krishnamoorthy
Geethavani Awards-Senior (over 35-age group):  Mr. Muthulingam  Jeyabarathithasan
Geethavani Award-Duet (age 12 and above):  Gnanamagal Asokan and Raguram Navaratnam
 
An added improvement to the competition was the comments given by the special judges to each contestant to improve their singing talent. In between the competition, Kalpana and Anantha entertained the audience with popular scene songs. Also, the winners of the competition were given the opportunity to perform with these playback singers on the night.
 
As a special feature of the Geethavani Awards, an Academic Excellence Award was introduced this year. The award was given to a student who obtained the highest marks for HSC Tamil Continuous in NSW. The first recipient of the award was Balagajan Amithasivan.
 
To commemorate the Geethavani Awards event, annually a souvenir is released, but this year’s booklet also was made with a difference. It carries very valuable articles and information on OBA Sydney’s theme of the year “Education is Wealth”. One of which is based on a preliminary research completed on the “The State of Higher Education in the North and East of Sri Lanka”. This extensive study is the first of this kind conducted in Sri Lanka and took around a month to collect the data. The data is specially analysed and presented on the request of JHC OBA Sydney. There are also articles written by educationalists and a student sharing their view about the current state of education in North-East Sri Lanka. The funds raised by this event too will be utilised for assisting the educational and sports activities in the homeland.
 
Another highlight of the event was a song about Jaffna Hindu College for which the music was composed by Satish in just 2 minutes at the stage with his orchestra and sung by Kalpana and Anantha. The lyrics were written by S.V.Panchacharam, former teacher of Jaffna Hindu College.
 
 
Partheepan, Secretary of the Sydney OBA, delivered the vote of thanks. He thanked each and every person who generously supported to make this event a success. 
 
The prime sponsor of the event was TSS Worldwide Money Transfer and the award for youth category too was sponsored by them. The award for junior category was sponsored by Sri Accounting while Vim Tech sponsored senior category award and BJ Accounting sponsored for duet category. Professional accountants sponsored the academic excellence award.
 
The event went passed midnight and closed at 12.50 AM. Maheswaran Prabaharan, an old boy of Jaffna Hindu College, was the Master of Ceremonies". He together with Ms.Kanthimathi Dhinakaran coordinated and delivered the programme very well.
 
 
 
MC Maheswaran Prabaharan calling for one minute silenct prayer
 
 
Mr.S.Ponnampalam, former Principal, lighting the oil lamp
 
 
Mr.S.Mahendravarman, President of OBA Sydney, delivering welcome address
 
 
Fully-packed Auditorium
 
 
Geethavani Awards Junior Finalists with Kalpana on stage
 
 
Geethavani Awards Youth Finalists with Kalpana on stage
 
 
Geethavani Awards Senior Finalists on stage
 
 
Geethavani Awards Duet Finalists on stage
 
 
Geethavani Awards winners on stage
 
 
 
Playback Singer Kalpana being honoured by Director of TSS Worldwide Money Transfer
 
 
Playback Singer Anantha being honoured by President of OBA Sydney
 
 
Music Director Satish being honoured by President of OBA Sydney
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