It started like this. During the early days, our CHURCH was functioning under thatched roofing. The habitants in the vicinity who had their education in Railway Colony School started worshipping in Church. They started visiting our Church with Baby Organs which were used during the services in yesteryears. In the absence of choir, senior chorister Mr.E.J.Victor played the Baby Organ during English and Tamil Services.
Mr. E.J. Victor who was to have been instituted as the Honorary Organist for English and Tamil Services by (Late) Mr.F.B.Christian, the Area Chairman of Madras North Area Council did not take up the assignment. In consequence, Mrs. Winfred continued to do the honours in both the services along with (Late) Mr.B.George, a domicile from Thanjavur.
Mr.S.Theodore Selvaraj, a senior officer of Fisheries Department who had a strong penchant for Christian church music, pioneered the formation of the first ever Choir of St.James Church. He meticulously trained the youth and elders to sing in parts. His devotion and sense of discipline developed excellent choristers. Some of the choristers who were part of his team are still shining in the spiritual arena.
An electronic Organ was commissioned at the church on the Maundy Thursday of April 1987 in lieu of the middle size Organ. White robes for the choristers and the cross bearing procession was introduced in our church for the first time in history in September 1987. Mr.Henry John who is a chorister for more than three decades adorned the role of first Cross bearer.
The choir grew by leaps and bounds over the years under the stewardship of Mr. Theodore Selvaraj. They participated in song services of other churches also. Choirs who won accolades in many events formed part of Christmas carol services at our Church along with the established Choir group.
Mr. Joseph Ebenezer a retired Headmaster was appointed as the first paid organist of the church. He used to attend all the services and occasions be it is rain or shine. The void created by the death of Mr. Joseph Ebenezer was filled by his daughter Mrs.Greselda Ebenezer who continues to play the lead role. Mr.Peter Collison from C.S.I.Christ Church, Ambattur trained our choristers, viz. Bro.Kingston Kirubakaran, Bro.S.Lovin Samuel, Bro.R.Joel Rufus, Ms.N.Gospelena Blessy, Ms.R.Percy Jasmine and who are now playing their role in the order of service. They were trained to score the music within a short span of time by Mr.Peter Collison. Bro.D.Samuel Ebenezer and Bro.N.Edwin are playing “Puduvazhvu Padalgal” in Tamil service. While Bro.C.Jones Williams, our Pastor’s son plays Violin, Mr.Sudakar plays the role of drummist.
Tamil Isai Kuzhu came into being as an adjunct to the choir under the leadership of Mr.C.Mahendran and active participation of Mr.J.Balasingh Immanuel and Mr.R.Nehemiah. This kuzhu was meticulously nurtured by Late. Rev.Honest Chinniah whose services to Carnatic Music in Christian fraternity is beyond comparison considering his advanced age.
Quite unexpectedly, Mr. Theodore Selvaraj entered into His Glory on 7th March 2007. He was succeeded by one of Mr. Theodore’s able protégés by name Mr.J.Balasingh Immanuel, one of the Headmasters of our Diocesan Higher Secondary Schools, is painstakingly leading and training the choir on the footprints of Mr. Theodore Selvaraj. The entire family of Mr.Balasingh Immanuel is totally committed to the Church choir. Mrs.Jayakumari Balasingh is a soprano singer, elder son Mr.Prince Jayaraj Samuel is a Bass singer and a good Organist too, used to play church music and Puduvazhvu Padalgal in service and younger son Bro.Kingston Kirubakaran is a good Tenor singer and in the absence of Mr.Balasingh Immanuel, he used to train the choristers.
The sudden demise of Mrs. Juliet Rajkumar, one of the senior and active choristers, on 29th May 2012 is really inconsolable to the entire choristers. The services rendered by the departed soul in every sphere of the choir are always remembered by every one of the choristers.
If we fail to mention the services rendered on the Piano by Veteran Mr. Samuel Abhisekara, Mr.Devadoss and Mr.John V.R.Collison on festive occasions we would be termed as ungrateful.The choristers always remember the services rendered by the family of Mr. Nelson Manasia. Mr. Nelson Manasia plays tabla in Carnatic songs, his elder daughter Reeta Nancy Ruby is a soprano singer. The younger daughter Roseline Ruby plays violin quite wonderfully both in classical and western styles. Besides, she is a good singer too. His only son Edwin is a specialist in Keyboard.
There are now about 37 choristers in the choir and 5 singers in Tamil Isai Kuzhu. Senior choristers like Mr.E.J.Victor, Mrs.Jayakumari Balasingh, Mrs.Sarala Selvaraj, Mrs.Padma Selvaraj, Mrs.Evelet Davaseelan, Mr.C.Mahendran and Mr.R.Nehemiah add musical values to the choir. The choir is always in the forefront in the Palm Sunday street processions in and around Ayanavaram.
Name of choristers:
CSI ST.JAMES CHURCH – CHORISTERS
Choir Master: J.Balasingh Immanuel
|1||Jeya Balasingh||Percy Jasmine.R||Victor.E.J.||Prince J.Samuel|
|2||Padma Selvaraj||Kingston Kirubakaran||Mahendran.C|
|4||Evelet Dhavaseelan||Ernest Rajkumar||Charles Moses|
|5||Florence Prince||Sajiv.S||Samuel Ebenezer.D|
|6||Jerlene Venish Prshya||Prativ.S||Lovin Samuel|
|7||Lincy Samuel||Joel Rufus.R||Immanuel.R|
|8||Sheeli||Jones William.C||Moses Spurgeon.S|
Organist: Griselda Ebenezer
The church is now blessed with a brand new Electronic Organ, modern Public Address System and state of the art multi channel equalizer console thanks to donors. Mr. Paul Vijay and Mr.S.Daniel operate the gadgets deftly.
It is a matter of divine blessings and great pride that the church choir produced spiritual leaders like Rev.Augustine Andrews, Rev.W.B.Devaputhiran, Rev.E.W.Christopher, Pastor Alwin Thomas and Bro.Peter. Those who contributed their talents in these days are Mrs.Julie Collins (Alto), Mrs.Joyce Alwyn (Alto), Mr.Johni Bai (Bass) and Mrs.Mary Johni Bai (Tenor).
Singings are a talent, an art and give healing touches. Let us continue in our endeavour to nurture the choir by prayers and encouragement.