News & Reviews

Carol Evening and Barbecue Night Author:Debjani Basak   Posted On:2024-01-02


The spirit of Christmas echoed through the lawns of Dalhousie Institute as the annual Carol Evening unfolded, themed to transport attendees back to the cherished Christmas celebrations of yesteryears. It was an evening drenched in nostalgia, evoking memories of joy, warmth, and the enchanting traditions of the season.

Joy to the world, the Lord is come. Let Earth receive her King.

Let every heart prepare Him room. And Heaven and nature sing…..

As the twilight dimmed, giving way to a starry night, the choir led by Sumith Ramachandran, (who doubled up as Grinch) struck its chord. Amidst the chanting of ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ a beautiful angel descended from Heaven (read stage). The audience was treated to a poignant portrayal of the Nativity scene, enacted by a dedicated ensemble of performers. The stage transformed into a Bethlehem manger, with Mary and Joseph, the 3 wise men, shepherds and sheep. Behind the costumes and realistic make up, one could spot Anchal, Lianne, Rohan, Samir Shah, Satwik Ghosh, Jay Kothari, teenagers Adran Tims, Rayed Faiyaz, Heath O’Brien and Kaveer Shah.

Santa, played by Kemp O’Brien, came in in a pair of boxer shorts! Apparently the green, grouchy, grumpy grinch had managed to steal the bottoms of his red costume. The MC of the evening, Ryan Shaw had the members and guests enthralled as he went about asking various questions to members and pleading with the grinch to make peace. Juliana Van Steensel , looking as beautiful as ever, was asked about her fondest memory of Christmas at DI. She revealed that she’s been coming to her favourite club since 1965 and each year the performance exceeds her expectations; this year was no different. Her childhood friend Janet Davis (nee Tocher) who had come down from London whispered into my ears, ‘as little girls, we would all dance around the Christmas Tree; I have such good memories, I want to relive those each year.’  

The highlight of the evening was the carol singing and the graceful performance by our gorgeous dancers. The choir comprised professional performers like Rila Banerjee, Shayne Hyrapiet, and Grieg Francis. Other seasoned and melodious members of the band included Mira and Gunjan Khemka, Upasana Pathak, Eepsita Bose, Mitali and Debolina Sinha, Sriparna Sarkar, Ruchi Jain, Caroline D’Souza, Candice Francis, Brinelle Tims, Sahana Maz Agarwal, Devyansh and Kanav Shah, Ved and Harsh Khemka, Ari Rafael D’Souza, Stephen D’Souza, Brian Sweeny, Wilson J Andrews, Nigel Gomez, Mrinal Dhote and Amit Ukil.

Choreographed by the talented Natalie Pote, the fluid movements of the dancers each seemed to tell a story of their own. One could sense the hard work and dedication that went into the synchronisation on stage. The Hula-Hawaiian Dance by Keisha A Quinn, Skyla Hyrapiet, Jada Wynne-Peters. Mishal Faiyaz, Ishana Gambhir, Chitrita, Kyra Feroz, Navya Tewari and Nysa Gomes Das was definitely a show-stopper.

I don’t know how old George Michael was when he wrote Last Christmas but little Jayden Robinson, at 11, claimed that someone broke his heart last Christmas! Wham!! The audience was hysteric. This was the cue to the next dance by the troupe consisting of Sierra Hyrapiet, Joshua Gomez, Jayden, Harshita Dhanuka Suhana Choudhury, Urvish Mishra, Nevaeh Wynne-Peters, Ishrat Gambhir, Sara Ali and Dylan Tims.

Frank Sinatra came alive with Winter Wonderland. Can a Carol Evening be complete without the legend’s songs? From the bar to the ball-room, septuagenarian Mohan Pal is omnipresent. With him we were happy that night, walking in a winter wonderland.

Have you witnessed a White Christmas; where the treetops glisten and the children listen to hear sleigh bells in the snow? A guest named Puja, from Arkansas said she had done so a couple of times. Well, I, for one, would not trade places with her. As overheard from the large number of tourists and, residents living abroad either pursuing college education or working, who flock to Kolkata and our beloved DI during the winter months, nothing beats the15 degree Kolkata “chill”! On that note Craig D’Souza and Mariam Zaki with their elegant dance wished us all merry and bright days ahead.

Attendees mingled, sharing anecdotes of their own cherished holiday memories, weaving a tapestry of shared experiences that bridged the gaps between generations. Mrs Banerjee, the proud mother of 3 talented daughters Rila, Rima and Sukanya recalled the days spent by the DI swimming pool in the 1980s when her girls were learning to swim. Feliz Navidad and Joy to the World followed. Tots and kids of DI namely Aryan, Eli, Saanvika, Devyansh, Vania, Paarth, Sierra, Zayn, Devansh, Kanav and Ved were all looking adorable dressed as either elves or little drummer boys or other nonfictional characters. It was a beautiful night, generations bonding over shared melodies that have stood the test of time, fostering a sense of unity and joy.

Our president Mr. Jayajit Biswas praised the performers and thanked the Council members, organisers and the members present for making the evening memorable. As the stage events wound down, the crowd wound up to spring from their tables towards the Barbeque dinner. With four main course options Chicken Poulet Ala Poibon, Beouf Steak Milanese, Pork Chop Hawaii or Paneer Vegetable-Mushroom-Brosette; there was a variety to choose from. Accompaniments of mixed tossed salad, Russian salad, provencal salad, parsley and herb potatoes with French dressing and rosemary sauce and buttered bread rolls was part of the menu too. All food-counters including the new Chinese one, Wok This Way had their kitchens busy for those craving for an alternate cuisine. Since there is nothing such as “too much food”, the Barbecue meal had some delightful add-ons. Cold cuts such as Spiced beef, Chicken Mexican Salami or Ham, and DI staples- the apple pie and caramel custard for dessert, were simply “finger-licking good!”.

With full hearts and even fuller stomachs, the night came to a merry close. Ringing in the Yuletide spirit, DI Carol Evening once again left its mark on Kolkata’s social calendar. It’s a jolly good time to ho ho ho!