Music is a universal language. On Dec 1, 2019, the Kuwait Chamber Chorale (KCC) will perform in front of a global audience at a concert organized by DCINY, the leading concert producer in New York. Fifty-three members of KCC will fly to New York from Kuwait to present the concert at Carnegie Hall. In Feb 2020, they are also invited to perform at the Dubai Opera, a very significant venue as well.

The KCC is a non-profit, unique and one-of-a-kind musical ensemble. It was conceived in the hearts and minds of a few ardent music lovers residing in Kuwait. The vision became a reality when Fredrick Nirmal, 39, contacted choristers from various choir groups in Kuwait to come forward and join the musical venture. “KCC was born out of a passion for music. We are all in same direction and we all want to learn. We all want to perform – we all like the music we are playing,” Nirmal told Kuwait Times.

“We all wanted to have a group that could perform on the world stage. This is about to happen. This is our objective and we are very happy that we were selected to perform at Carnegie Hall. KCC endeavors to position itself as an integral part of the community and not just be a peripheral attraction. Every concert, special event and outreach program seeks to find new ways to genuinely engage listeners. From amateur musicians to artistic collaborations with other musical groups, KCC constantly seeks new ways to bring immediacy, relevance and personal connections to all segments of the community through the shared experience of orchestral music,” he added.

Nirmal said the reward for each one of them is the fact that KCC can be a uniting force, even as the musicians come from various backgrounds and ages. “In a chorale group, it has to be mix of everyone – that is why we have young and old ladies and gentlemen.”

KCC’s debut concert was conducted in March 2017 with a presentation of acclaimed Western classical anthems. “The concert had about 40 live instrumentalists and 65 vocals in four parts (bass, tenor, soprano and alto). The packed audience in the concert hall was enthralled, leaving a lasting impression with the high-quality presentation,” he said. The second concert presentation in 2018 was yet another milestone, when KCC proudly presented a few anthems, duets and solo renditions from the evergreen G F Handel’s oratorio ‘The Messiah’. On Oct 26 and 27, 2019, KCC will perform Joseph Haydn’s ‘The Creation’ in Kuwait.

Asked if they are a chorale with strong religious connections, Nirmal replied in the negative. “We want to be known not as religious group, so our group comprises of a lot of members from various religious affiliations – there are Hindus and Christians and we have Muslims in the group too. So it is not religious in nature – this is a group of people willing to entertain, and music is innate in the members,” he said.
KCC consists of musicians from all age groups, from children as young as 11 to adults over 60. The basic element that binds the team to stay together is their love and passion for music. It’s a group of enthusiastic instrumentalists, passionate for their love of music, and nothing quenches their thirst for the utmost and supreme quality when it comes to concert performances. Members of KCC stand committed to the call and strive to achieve greater heights in all their engagements with music in the future. All expenses for learning and practicing music are shared by its members. Well-wishers do donate to the choir after listening to the high quality presentations, but KCC utilizes such gifts to help poor children with a passion for music.

The chorale is trained by Nirmal, who plays the piano and cello. According to the members, he is an excellent music teacher and team player, the reason why KCC has been so successful in all its concerts and presentations. KCC has an administrative core team of six senior members, who under the guidance of the director, manage the day-to-day affairs and concert preparations.

Member voices
Suresh Thomas, 61, bass

“I am the senior-most member of the choral group. I just love being with the group. I don’t play any instruments though, but my contribution is very significant in a choral group like KCC. I may be the oldest in age, but I am proud of being part of this wonderful team of people headed by Nirmal. I am happy that I will be joining them in the concert of a lifetime at Carnegie Hall.”

Christi Tomas, 57, tenor

“I am what we call the jack-of-all-trades. I can be in the base, tenor and alto. I am into music – I play the guitar, piano, cello and other instruments. Music is my life! I teach several musical instruments to young kids too. It is really very rewarding – it’s fulfilling if you teach kids and they actually learn something.”

Jin Jacob, 43, tenor

“My role in the group is to help everyone in doing their homework, making sure that everyone is updated and in the loop and have been practicing their assigned lines. So, even as we only have training once a week, we are up to date. When the time of training comes, we can easily follow and do our part.”

By Ben Garcia