The present Tamil community commenced their Tamil services in the year 1998 as a prayer group. After a year’s period, they started celebrating Tamil mass which was initiated in the year 1999 during the month of August by Rev. Fr. Germanus Rayan. At that moment the need for a Tamil catholic choir had dawned and was realized by forming the “Tamil Catholic Choir”. The choir completely contributes and participates in the Tamil mass, prayer meetings, way of the cross, Eucharistic adoration, retreats and Christmas carols that take place at the parish level and any other services conducted by the Tamil community in the parish.
Every year, the Tamil catholic community celebrates Our Lady of Health (Velankanni Feast) Feast during the month of September. The feast celebration comprises of flag hoisting, novena, Eucharistic adoration, car procession, special high mass and cultural program. The choir contributes and enhances the celebration by specially selecting meaningful traditional and new songs which aptly fit for the celebration. The singing is rendered by categorizing the song in male, female and child voices using appropriate music instruments. The rendition of the choir has always touched the hearts of the faithful from the emirates (U.A.E) and has made them to applaud its work.
The 10th anniversary of the Tamil choir group was celebrated in 2008 and a hymn book of “OLICHUDAROSAIGAL” was published in Tamil with 500 Tamil hymns by the choir to mark the occasion and to improve the participation of the community and enrich their spiritual life. From that year onwards, the choir was registered in the church as “Olichudar Choir” and with its 20 members, it has been performing with excellence. The services has been extended to the Tamil speaking children by conducting practices in Tamil songs and encourage them to participate in church related activities in the parish.
It is notable that in November 2009, the feast of the patroness of musicians Saint Cecelia was celebrated by the Olichudar choir as per the Tamil culture with the participation of all the choirsatparish level.
The choir holds meetings twice in a year to assimilate the songs well in advance, for all the services held in a year. Services Include:-
- Masses held in a year
- Lent – Easter
- Our Lady of Health Feast
- Christmas – New Year
Occasionally the choir meets the parish priest to take his advice. Since theco-ordinator of the Tamil Choir has been a member of the church committee it aids in communication to participate at the meetings conducted time to time by the committee to plan the programmes of the Tamil community and facilitate the participation of the community at the services in the parish.
During the weekly practise the choir’s operation and the choir member’s intention are being kept in prayer. The feast celebrations are kept in special intercessory prayer by means of chain prayer on a daily basis with biblical and prayer reflections and by keeping fasting.
The volatile situation that prevails in the U.A.E, It is a challenge for the members of the choir group to be members for a long period as all are expatriates and some of them need to return to their home countries due to continue their personal endeavours. The visa restrictions, shifting and economic recession becomes a hurdle for the members of the choir to continue their service. However, the choir group is functioning without any break due to the great effort taken by the members of the group and the prior practices conducted according to the members’ convenient time and excellent communication and co-operation rendered by the members itself.
Thus the choir always welcomes the faithful with an interest to sing and encourage them to get involved and provide dedicated service through simple training sessions. Also, the Choir is trying to utilise more instruments to highlight the Tamil culture as well as the western music as the Tamil community is familiar with both music.
When St. Joseph’s Catholic Church was established in Jebel Ali in the year 2004, the members of the Olichudar choir who were residing in that area, used the expertise that they had gained to start a tamil choir in the Jebel Ali parish.
Other than just extending their voices to sing God’s praise, the Olichudar choir has also been an instrument to build the faith of the expatriates who live away from their hometowns, by giving free hymn books to the family prayer groups. The Olichudar choir has compiled and released a few CDs in the past years comprising of songs on mother Mary, Christmas, Lent and Easter, and on saints.
Thus we can say the Olichudar Choir acts as an “useful instrument” in incrementing the faith of the people. We are more and more strengthened by the Holy Spirit and programmes are always successful with the Grace of ever loving God.
In its musical journey, the Olichudar choir is growing in its 15th year like a branch of a rooted tree.
GOD BLESS YOU