CSI. St. James Church Choir and Tamil Isai Kuzhu
In the early days, our CHURCH was functioning under a thatched roofing. A baby Organ was used for the singing during the worship Services. Mr. E.J. Victor who was then introduced by Mr. F.B. Christian the Area chairman of Madras North Area council, was playing the baby organ. Later, Mrs. Manjulabai Wilfred continued to play the organ along with Mr. B. George from Tanjore.
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 replacing the middle size Organ. White robes for the choristers and the cross bearing procession was introduced in our church for the first time in the Church history in September 1987 by Rev. Prince Chellappa. Mr.Henry John who is a senior chorister adorned the role of first Cross bearer.
The choir continued to grew under the Choir master 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 groups like John Millns Chorale, conducted by Mr.Jabez Janagaraj, Deputy Secretary to the Government of Tamilnadu and the Three chords by Mr. Samuel Abeysekara who is the composer, Lyricist, Accompanist and Director.
Mr. Joseph Ebenezer a retired Headmaster was appointed as the first paid organist of the church. After the demise of Mr. Joseph Ebenezer his daughter Mrs.Grieselda Ebenezer who continues to be the paid organist of the Church. 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 were playing “Puduvazhvu Padalgal” in Tamil service. While Bro.C.Jones Williams,played Violin, Mr.Sudakar now plays the role of drummist and Bro Moses Spurgeon plays violin in the worship services.
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.
We would like to mention the services rendered on the Piano by Veteran Mr. Samuel Abhisekara, Mr.Devadoss and Mr.John V.R.Collison during Christmas Carol service and Passion Song service.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 played violin both in classical and western styles. Besides, she is a good singer too. His only son Edwin is a specialist in Keyboard.
In October 2009 Mr. C. Mahendran’s family had donated an electronic Piano cum Organ to the church . In the Easter Sunday service of April 2017, from the Church members contribution a double manual Electronic digital organ imported from the company CONTENT of Netherland.
It is a matter of divine blessings and great pride that the church choir has produced spiritual leaders like Rev.Augustine Andrews, Rev.T..Devaputhiran, Rev.E.W.Christopher, Rev. SolomonVictor Rajasekaran, Pastor Alwin Thomas and Bro.R.Peter.
Choirmaster – Mr. J. Balasingh Immanuel
Associate Choirmaster – Mr. B.Kingston Kirubakaran
Organist – Mr. R. Ruphus Joel
Tamil Isai Kuzhu Convenor – Mr. C. Mahendran
Jayakumari Balasingh, Padma Selvaraj, Sarala Selvaraj, EveletDavaseelan, Malini Antony, Jayaseeli, Mary, Priscilla, Smeetha, Sherly, Praisy, Emima, Anitha, Blessy, Winsy, Janet, Sharon, Jenita, Grace, Janis, Simon.
Percy, Ruby,Jeffra, Merlin.
E.J.Victor, Kingston Kirubakaran, Rufus, Athisayaraj Samuel, Antony, Nathaniel & Joshua.
R.Nehemiah, C.Mahendran, B.Prince Jeyaraj Samuel, CharlesMoses, Robert, Lovin Samuel, Moses Spurgeon, Joshua, Jeffrin, John Thomas.
There are now about 40 choristers in the choir and 10 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, Mr.R.Nehemiah, Mr.T.Anthony, Mrs. Malini Anthony and Mr. D. Samuel Ebenezer add musical values to the choir. The choir is always in the forefront in the Palm Sunday street processions in and around Ayanavaram. The Choir put up stalls to raise fund in Mission Festival Sale & in Harvest Festival Sale. The Choir gives a special number with the history & background of the Hymn in every 2nd Sunday Worship Service. The Tamil Isai kuzhu gives a special song in every 4th Sunday Tamil Worship Service.
Singing in the Church Choir is a blessing from the LORD. Singing is an art and talent that gives healing touch to the souls and it brings God’s presence during the worship services.
We the Church Choir ,would like to thank our beloved Pastor Rev.Dr. N.G. Mathew, our Associate Pastor Rev.Dr. Sarah Mathew, our Treasurer Mr. C.Davidson, all the present Pastorate Committee members, the Church Elders and the Congregation to do God’s ministry in singing in the worship services of our Church.