Some eat their morning bread briskly and make their way to the Senior Audi before time, trickling into comfortable spots on the mat-covered floor. The juniors come in timely fashion, having had a class earlier in the morning. The assembly books on the benches stacked in zig-zag towers gradually disappear into their laps. Hindi or Telugu, they take or trade.
Some teachers take their places on the benches, some come down to sing with the students. The music students claim their prestigious places in the first concentric circle. The hall echoes with many, many “Shh!”s. Gradual silence. Heads turn at the disturbing latecomers, seniors mostly, hastily taking off their footwear and finding a book to share. Silence.
The Sruthi box is turned on. “Page 48, Sundara Sheetala”. A collective ruffle of pages turning, and sir starts with the first perfect note in the hope that today everybody will sit straight. And sing loudly. Especially the boys. 300-odd baritones take off briefly after him, infusing the air with songs of Kabir and Surdas …
…melody and music have their place, but these are the sounds of community.
Here are a few recorded tracks from the Assembly book for you to bless your mornings with. Don’t forget the minute of silence afterwards!
Download All (rar archive, 67 MB) | Feel free to tell us if you have any trouble downloading the songs.
Alternatively, as before, for those who might find it useful, here’s our public Dropbox folder with the individual songs, instead of one single rar archive: Singing Assembly.
These songs were recorded live at the Rishi Valley morning assemblies and in music classes over the course of the year 2010-2011. We’re grateful to Seshadri Sir (teaching music at RV) and the school office for permission to share the songs here on The RV Storybook.