March 14, 2010 – 25th Anniversary Programme of the University Brass Band

The Sri Sathya Sai University Brass Band of the Prasanthi Nilayam campus was started by Swami, way back in 1985. And so, in 2010, they completed 25 glorious years of playing for the Lord. It has been a long and eventful journey and a journey where growth has been an inseparable aspect.

From few instruments that included tambourines and small cymbals, the band has grown into a professional, closely knit unit - bonded by His Love - playing to herald to all the liberating power of his Love!

Hundreds of students have passed through the training to become a member of this coveted band and dozens have risen to the status of its "band leader". But from its inception, there has been only one common factor - two if we may be allowed the correction - Swami's Love and Love for Swami. (Are they different anyway?)

On March 13 when Swami asked if there was any programme for the next day, the band decided to pay homage to their dear Lord and Master. The marbled blocks were populated with the band members and their brass instruments. The Veda chanting stopped at 5:00 p.m. and everyone waited for Swami to arrive. It was at about 5:50 p.m. that Swami came for darshan.

The Veda chanting welcomed Him and Swami seemed quite eager to get the proceedings for the evening started. He took a detour after the ladies' side and then moved straight to the stage. As He sat there, the band leader moved up the stage and presented the card to Swami. Roses too were offered and Swami blessed the programme to begin after stopping the Veda chanting.

The whole programme was beautifully woven with the silken threads of episodes from Swami's childhood. They began with His birth and how nature and everyone rejoiced as a royal welcome was accorded to the Lord. This was depicted with the piece "Shehenshah".

The piece was so full of tempo and gusto. It was very well received and those close to Swami seemed to perceive a glow of pride in His eyes. Then they moved to the bhajan, "Bala Gopala" to describe the sweetness of little Sathya. Speaking about His excellent composing skills, they sang out His Telugu rendering of the national anthem, "Aha Rava Tava" and that seemed to take Swami down the memory lane, making Him very nostalgic.

Everyone in the audience also loved every bit of it.

Interwoven were also the narrations of some wonderful episodes from Swami's life. A couple of bhajans followed after which a triad - violin, guitar and soprano saxophone - came forward. They played the bhajan, "Hari Bhajan Bina".

Even as they began to play the aalaap for the bhajan, Swami was so moved. He nodded and indicated, "They are playing so well!" They lived up to what Swami said. Their performance was cheered by all and soon, the final bhajan was played by the band. Swami was very happy and He raised both His hands in benediction.

The band leader then came forward and requested Swami for group photos to which Swami agreed. He asked them to come as a whole. That was not understood it seemed as small groups of four arrived as per their instruments and Swami posed with them all.

When the huge Tubas arrived, there was applause from everywhere and Swami asked them to pose with their instruments. That being done, Swami asked for Safari pieces to be brought. He gave one to the band leader and asked him to distribute the rest.

The distribution was done as prasadam was sent for the performers. Then, even as they were about to disperse, Swami told them to wait. He moved down the ramp and as He had desired, posed with the whole band. Then, moving back on the stage, He asked for aarthi. After the aarthi, He told the music boys to be ready with a programme for the next day and then moved to His residence.

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