Report by OD bureau; Seattle: The 43rd Annual Odisha Society of Americas (OSA) Convention concluded in the city of Seattle, USA with all pomp and glory. This two and half day event was attended by about 500 people cutting across different geographies. The Odia diaspora in the North America were treated to some enthralling performances by professional artists depicting the rich cultural heritage of the great state of Odisha.
The event was inaugurated on 06 July 2012, by distinguished guests that included the Mayor of Bellevue – Mr Conrad Lee, Indian High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago – Mr Malay Mishra, Member of Parliament – Mr Baijayanta Panda and Legendary Hindustani Classical Singer – Ms. Sunanda Patnaik among others.
The inauguration was followed by the showcase performance from the local artists who depicted the theme of the event “Eka Mana Eka PrAna, Eka PrAnta Eka Chinha”. It started with a skit by Seattle artists, followed by a musical from the Portland performers and concluded with a Odissi dance performance by the Urvasi Ensemble led by Dr Ratna Roy. This set the tone for rest of the convention and gave the audience a glimpse of what was in store.
The evening line up for both the days was studded with some brilliant performances by legendary artists. Ms Sunanda Patnaik initiated the proceedings on the first day with a mesmerizing rendition of Hindustani classical. He was accompanied by Mr. Satish Tare on the Tabla and Mr. Mausam on the Harmonium. This was followed with a fashion show by the local women walking to the theme of “Save a Girl Child”. One of the most talked about performance was the Das Kathia by two budding local artists – Mano Mishra and Manoj Ratha. Their narrative of tribulations of an Immigrant Odia in USA struck a chord with the audience. Suraj Patnaik, a second generation Odia enraptured the audience with his vocal performance singing Gita Govinda. He was accompanied by Ms. Adyasha Das who had flown in from Odisha for this event. The crowd laughed their stomach out with the Late Night Stand Up routine by Sunny Tripathy. This is his second appearance in OSA and like earlier one, he was an instant hit. The first night ended with the crowd being treated to some melodious songs of yester years by Sangeeta Gossain and Sushmita Das.
The second day cultural event was kicked off by a stunning Odissi dance recital by duo Ms. Ellora and Devraj Patnaik from Toronto. The rendition of Dasha Avatar under the glowing lights was awe-inspiring and etched a lasting memory of the audience.
On the footsteps was another amazing performance by the Jyoti Kala Mandir troop from California. The Live Musicians accompanying the dancers added a very invigorating touch to the routine that centered on liberation from material world – Mokshayada in the holy city of Varanasi.
Augmenting the cultural line ups were three competitions that showcased the drama, songs and variety talent in kids and adult. The Pramod Patnaik drama competition which has been a highlight of every convention boasted entries from 6 different chapters. The competition was intense with top notch performances from all the entries but the comedy satire by the California region bagged the top honors. The event was coordinated by Mr. Bikram Mohanty.
Subrina Biswal Competition in Performing arts is considered to be the launching pad of latent talent in kids and this year as well had a packed line up in two categories – Junior and Senior. The crowd was treated to some great performances by young kids that included dance, vocal, piano, keyboards etc. The first prize went to Ms. Simone Mishra and Ms. Sanuja Das in the Junior and Senior categories respectively. The event was sponsored by Biswal family and coordinated by Ms. Mitali Monalisa.
The Odissi, Champu and Chhanda competition that relives this dying music form was another hallmark of the convention. Seeing the young kids sing to the tunes of Live Musicians was a great experience for the attending members. This one hour program had 10 contestants vying for the top honors and the judges declared Ms. Meghna Nanda as the winner. This event was produced by Ms. Lata Mishra and coordinated by Mr. Chinmaya Panda.
The event would have been incomplete without the tantalizing performances by the tiny tots. Saraga Sashi, the hour long program was cuteness personified as the little kids donned the stage and danced to different tunes. It revealed how deep the talent goes in the OSA family. The event was coordinated by Ms. Sasmita Sahoo.
The two day event brought a lot of smiles and satisfaction to the crowd as they were transcended into a realm of rich art, music and dance that has been central to the ancient tradition of Odisha. It provided a bridge between generation miles away from the epicenter. The cultural team was led by co-convener Mr. Rakesh Patnaik and aptly supported by OSA National and local chapter members.