Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Doc takes West End east

A Belfast doctor will be taking his musical group to India in August to raise funds for the homeless.

Dr Sunil Paulraj, a doctor in the neonatal unit of Royal Jubilee Maternity Services and a classically trained musician, has put together a musical extravaganza called Nostalgia 2011, which will be performed by 12 professional soloists from London's West End backed by his group — Toccatta, a cross community choir of 70 musicians, singers and instrumentalists from across Ireland.

They will be joined by the cream of Bollywood musicians, a group of traditional Carnatic musicians and Tribal Drummers from the Toda tribe, as well as two current World Champion Irish Dancers, Jason and Ashleigh O'Neil who will lead a troupe of dancers from the UK and India.

Judith Sheridan, Toccatta's Artistic Director and Conductor said: “The idea is to create a cultural fusion, where Indian musicians will be weaving their music into ours. I'm extremely excited though there is a huge amount to organise.

“We will be performing in the South of India, in Chennai and towards the mountains in Coimbatore. We'll then be visiting some tribal drummers in their village and finishing our two week trip in Bangalore. “

Some of the West End singers and musicians performed a few songs from their musical show, Nostalgia 2011, in the Bostock Ballroom of the Royal Victoria Hospital on Monday 6th June.

Dr Paulraj said: “The show today was really a taster, to tell people about what we are doing and to show how hard this choir have worked. We've picked really popular pieces to perform,songs people would sing in the shower everyday.

“Judith and I formed Toccatta five years ago to reach out and change people's lives and to raise money for charity. We hold a major event each year featuring professional performers, but this year we decided to reach out to the wider community for performers for the show, because Toccatta is all about bringing people together for music.

“We aim to keep the entrance fee to our shows as low as possible. We want to perform to the common man, not just those who are able to go to concerts all the time, but someone who might think twice about spending even a pound to go to a show.”

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