Somebody asked me last week – How has Birmingham changed in the past 18 years that you have been living here? I wish I could have been asked this question TODAY.
This past Friday and Saturday provided an incredible view into the changing world of our city. This was the 12th year of the Callahan Lecture series. The dinner, lecture, and receptions were all fabulous – made even more special by the people who participated in all these events. The generosity of the Callahan and Price Families will be there for everybody to enjoy forever.
What was even more remarkable on Saturday was that two of Birmingham’s finest cultural institutions – Birmingham’s Children Theatre and Birmingham Museum of Art – held India related programs within hours of each other – both of them were spectacular, leaving us with fond memories for a long time.
BCT was hosting the family event of their production Beauty and the Beast. For a moment I thought I was transported to India. Except for the crew, everything was Indianized – including the costumes and names of actors/actresses. It will take me a while to forget the final scene – a jam packed auditorium of over 600 + screaming children, parents, grandparents (there were only 3 Indian families in the audience) clapping and dancing to the tune of Nach Punjaban Nach Punjaban. 30,000 children (12,000 in Birmingham and 18,000 in other parts of Alabama and the Southeast United States) plus their teachers, parents, and grandparents will see this version of the ageless classic. I would strongly encourage you to catch another show with the little one in your family - http://www.bct123.org/calendar.html.
We have to thank Gail Andrews and George Culver for their vision of incorporating India related themes in BMA and BCT respectively. I will leave you with one last observation of what it takes to bring such cultural diversity to cities like Birmingham. If you happened to attend the events yesterday – you would have noticed the silent hands and dancing feet of Pia Sen (www.notinee.com) – at both the events. Pia did a fantastic job of choreographing Beauty and the Beast and then 2 hours later and she and her troupe were performing themselves at the Callahan Lecture. THANK YOU, Pia.
Attached are pictures from the Callahan Lecture.
Please be sure to attend our FREE next event on May 7th. Calcutta Quartet, a unique fusion band from India, uses Eastern and Western musical instruments to play North and South Indian Classical Music. For full details, please click here.