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Toccata Musical Productions bring  two high-energy shows to town

Founded by Dr Sunil Paulraj and Judith Sheridan in 2005, Toccata Musical Productions is a charitable organisation that helps NGOs in developing countries raise funds. Based out of Belfast, it nonetheless attracts musicians and artistes from around the UK. Having visited India as a two-member team post the tsunami of 2004, Paulraj and Sheridan decided to channel their passion and talent to help the needy. Today, their 100- member strong team has global links and has staged performances in 15 countries. They come to Bangalore with two productions — Nostalgia (August 2 and 3) and Musical Express (August 5 and 6), that draw on the zesty world of pop music and the dramatic tunes of West End.

Different strokes
“We are a mix of people who come together for the love of music,” says Linda Hopley, manager and spokesperson of the 70-plus cast. Spanning four days of public performances, all proceeds from the show go to Reaching Hands – an NGO that looks after displaced children, and the U&I Foundation that works in the social development sector. “We work entirely on a no-profits basis, so everything goes towards the charity we support,” says Paulraj, adding that even the cost of the trip from the UK is entirely self-funded. Originally from Bangalore, Paulraj, like most others at Toccata, is a ‘professional by day’ who founded the production house to make great music that benefits others.

Having raised more than GPB two million over the past eight years, Toccata has been recognised by the United Nations for their work towards humanity and goes to countries as cultural ambassadors with the support of various heads of State. “Our trip to Bangalore is a collaboration with the British Embassy and the chief minister and home minister who have invited us,” shares Paulraj.

Curtain raiser
Hopley says we can “expect a lively show filled with music, dance and plenty of positive energy”. From soulful tunes by Neil Diamond and John Denver to foot-tapping numbers by Michael Jackson and Madonna, Nostalgia even has children performing Disney songs with a touch of Bollywood thrown in. “Musical Express will take you to London’s West End with favourites from Les Miserables to The Lion King,” Hopley enthuses.

A 21-member full-fledged orchestra supports their extensive cast that includes members of musical societies across Ireland and the UK and four professional soloists as well as five singers from Kenya. And though they stick to covers of popular songs, Paulraj informs us that they re-arrange all of their music in-house after obtaining necessary permissions, thus putting their “own stamp to the entire show”.

At Chowdiah Memorial Hall, Malleswaram. Tickets (`1,000 upwards) at bookmyshow.com

—Susanna Chandy

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