North American Telugu Association (NATA) Kicked off its second Convention in Atlanta, Georgia on July 4th on a very high note. The July 4th weekend of 2014 will forever remain in the annals of history as one of the proudest and most glorious moments for Telugu speaking people around the world. The three day cultural extravaganza showcased moments where happiness was redefined and ecstasy ran abound unshackled. Enriching Literary presentations from world renowned scholars and poets, enthralling entertainment from various cultural teams that’s ranged from classical, semi-classical, fusion, film songs, folk songs and dances whet the appetite of all connoisseurs present at the sprawling GWCC center.
Dignitaries who graced the occasion included Amma Sri Karunamayi, Spiritual Leader, TTD Chairman Kanumuri Bapiraju Music Director Devi Sri Prasad, Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri, Lyric Writer & NATA Brand Ambassador Chandra Bose, Lyricist Sirivennela, Padmasree Shobha Raju, besides a host of politicians, acclaimed personalities of Tollywood, literary scholars and artists from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The proceedings were further augmented by the presence of VIPS like Chevireddy Bhaskar Reddy MLA, Teegala Krishna Reddy MLA, L Ramana TDP Telangana Leader, Revanth Reddy MLA, Jitta Surender Reddy, Peddi Reddy.
Tollywood sensations Tamanna, Praneetha, Vimala Raman, Laya, Madhavi Latha and others added to the glamour and beauty quotient in the cordial environment. The cream of Tollywood entertainers Siva Reddy, Hema, Jabardasth team, Madhavapeddi Suresh and Ghantasala Ratnakumar added to the feverish pitch of excitement with their fantastic humor and spontaneous exchanges. Melody was abound in the air as singers Sunitha, Gopika Poornima, Mallikarjun and other stalwarts gave a commanding performance that took everyone’s breath away.
Day 1: Banquet
It is a herculean task in itself figuring out where & what to start mentioning anything related to an event of epic proportions such as NATA 2nd Convention in Atlanta, Georgia over the July 4th weekend…People of Telugu origin from all over the world met and celebrated the Telugu culture and heritage. NATA Banquet evening, July 4th, at Georgia Ballroom of Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) was a formal evening attended by Glitterati, sponsors, Donors and who is who of Telugu diaspora to catch up on just before kick starting two day convention. Banquet evening majorly is for Sponsor and Donor recognition along with some focus on entertainment.
NATA banquet was an elegant and classy affair with utmost care taken for every aspect such as decorations, beverages, food, cultural & entertainment hour, chosen set of felicitations for accomplished people. Decorations were done up to create a chilled and friendly ambience to guests to make sure everyone can get into a relaxed mode right from get go.
Stage backdrop by Bytegraph Creations was a perfect setup of panels whose colors blended absolutely well with room lighting along with other decor of the hall. Several audio visual screens were setup only to enhance the impact of what was unravelling on main stage. The table and chair linen, ice sculptures, fruit art, food canopies that were strewn all over Banquet were a visual feast. Every table setup included a linen to match with colors of backdrop and lights, a Centre piece with fresh orchids on top of gold mesh & bottles of premium wine sponsored by corporate grand sponsor, Paramount Software Solutions.
The evening started with social hour with guests greeting each other and exchanging pleasantries! Followed by this was banquet seating during which video displays of NATA grand & major sponsors along with teasers for next two days! Program kick started by an amazingly talented American Idol semi-finalist Shubha Vedula reciting American and Indian national anthems with a group of teenagers! Immediately followed by that was the first dance of the convention Mahaganapathim, a fusion dance, performed by group worshipping lord Ganesha from whom first blessings are see-ken to ensure success per Indian tradition. Followed by that was welcome note by Banquet Committee chair.
NATA Excellency awards were presented to outstanding individuals from various fields such as medical, community service, media, research, entrepreneurship and other areas! Seva days and service awards were conferred upon to selective individuals for their outstanding support for NATA Seva Days in India and elsewhere. Benefactor awards were given to 10k donors.
The host for the evening was Sunitha Upadrashta who entertained audience with her emceeing as well as melodies from her hit movies and also Mallikarjun & Gopika Poornima entertaining with their songs! The next dance is a fusion styled dance "Talking Drums" choreographed by Smt. Padmaja Kelam and Siddarth Kelam to showcase fast footwork and grace while maintaining an energetic rhythm. It was well appreciated audience for perfection! The third and last dance item is by Shiv's Institute of Dance, and group performing for a telugu film song medley…the dance had bits to get audience involved and dance which was very well received by audience and enjoyed by everyone!
Gallery(Day1): Banquet (http://venkatphotography.com/nata-banquet)
Day-2 festivities kicked off with a flash mob that witnessed a huge gathering followed the Swagatham song and inaugural dance for song written by NATA Brand Ambassador Shri Chandrabose, music composed by Shri Ramachari Komanduri and choreographed by Smt. Neelima Gaddamanugu. Chief Guest, Gov. Nathan Deal addressed the gathering after an inaugural theme dance in extolling the Telugu heritage and release of the Inaugural CD. Gov. Nathan Deal highlighted the achievements of Indians in various fields and emphasized the growing partnership between US and India. He recognized the contributions of people of Telugu origin in India and around the world and lauded the extraordinary efforts by the Telugu community in community services and charitable work.
Various cultural programs including classical, semi-classical, folk dances, music, skits and plays were lined up to enthrall and entertain the audience. Saturday entertainment emceed by the famous Indian anchors Jhansi and Madhavi Siddam included Kumara Sambhavam Kuchipudi dance, Shivoham by Indian Classical Dance Academy, Seetha Kalyanam – Kuchipudi dance drama by Sasikala Penumarthi Dance Academy, Nadavinodam and Natyavialsam competition finals, Fusion dances, scintillating musical performances including an extraordinary performance by Flute Nagaraj, and singer Madhoo, exotic dance item Ändamaina Bhamalu- Letha merupu teegalu” by the stalwart tollywood beauty queens and many other exciting performances. NATA Honors and recognitions for conference donors and other recognitions, Live music Songs by Vandemataram Srinivas, Malgudi Subha, Saahithi and others brought the crowd excitement to a feverish pitch and marked a delightful end to the day’s festivities.
Day 3 got off to a rousing start with a sensational rendition of Annamayya songs by the singing legend Padmasri Shobha Raju. Classical dances and songs that included Perini Siva Tandavam by Prakash Dumpeti, Naadavinodam Competitions of Group and Instruments, Kuchipudi Dance by Natya Jyothi Dance Academy, Astaavadhanam by Sri Narala Rama Reddy, Chintha Chiguru Chinadana -folk songs by Vandemataram Srinivas & Malgudi Shubha, Light Music Segment, NATA Mahalakshmi Game Show, Shravya Ganam- Visually Challenged Kid Musical Program, Miss America Nina Davuluri, Sri Raamayanam – Kuchipudi dance by Neelima G team, Recognition to Convention Team - by NATA & DONORS. Chamak Challo - Youth Fashion Show and other fantastic programs ensured that everyone was entertained.
The proud moment of the evening came with the conferring of “జీవన సాఫల్య పురస్కారము” (Lifetime Achievement Award) to Padmabhushan Sripati Panditharadyula Bala Subrahmanyam garu or SPB as he is affectionately known. The spirit and talent of SPB, one of the best singers in the world, is well known to everyone. The world rejoiced at this deserving award to the “Gana Gandharva” and everyone wished that the maestro will continue to enthrall the world for many more years to come. President Dr. Sanjeeva Reddy, Convener Bala Reddy Indurti, Coordinator Srini Reddy Vangimalla, Co-Convener Dr. T. Satyanarayana Reddy, Advisory Council, Executive Committee, Honorary EC were part of the felicitation and in awarding a swarnakankanam, memento, bouquet and shawl to this singer of the millennium. The capacity crowd of 10000 fittingly gave a standing ovation to SPB and his song “punyabhoomi naadesham” is the highlight of the convention.
The DSP musical show brought the entire auditorium to its feet as pulsating beats rang one after the other to the top-hit melodies of the current Telugu films. As the sizzling numbers belted out in their glorious style, the audiences were on their feet clapping and swaying to the rhythm and fully enjoying the beat. The hall was rebound with thundering applause and shrieks of joy and several small groups found comfortable zones to swing in abundance and dance to the superb melodies.
A plethora of other forums had interesting programs such as nostalgic Alumni meet ups, spirited Carrom, Chess, tournaments for sports, Medical issues in Asian Indians etc., at the CME Medical forum, Business topics such as Big Data and business opportunities, Innovators and Entrepreneurs discussions , Health and Yoga forums, Senior Citizens programs, Jyothishyam: by Acharya C.V.B. Subrhamanyam , Bhakthi Sangeethalahari & Bathukamma paatalu by Akella Parvathi, Amma Sri Karunamayi Spiritual Disclosure at the Spiritual Forum, Trivia questions for audience , Seminars on Dating, Pelli sandhadi in olden days, Plan and expenses for wedding, Bhale Jodi Game show, competitive rounds like JAM -Just a minute, Talent round, Okarikiokaru, Antakshari on Pelli songs, Literary programs like Nenu Naa Kavithvam by Acharya Phanindra, Kadha Kaani Kadha by Smt Radhika Geddhada,Column Dhaatani Kaburlu by Smt Balabhadrapatruni Ramani, Nelamma-Nelamma by Sri Suddala Ashok Teja, followed by the much anticipated Ashtavadhanam by Sri Narala Rama Reddy engaged, educated and entertained the audience with their amazing command of the telugu language and the fantastic creativity of creation.
NATA thanked, Mayuri restaurant (Houston) Mr. Dayakar Reddy for the delicious food in Banquet, lunch and dinner on Saturday and Sundays, Suvidha for providing breakfast. It was a fascinating experience to see accolades pouring in from the record audience of 10000 guests on the event management, the wide array of cultural shows that thrilled the senses, the mouthwatering delicacies that transported one back to the motherland and above all the warm and cordial environment which resonated with goodwill.
45 convention committee members and scores of volunteers worked indefatigably with NATA leadership for the last 18 months to bring about such a fantastic event. A hundred million memorable moments were made in the glittering auditorium of GWCC as all people of Telugu origin reached out to one another and their families to enjoy carefree moments of ecstasy in which nothing mattered but the moment. In redefining happiness in each of those moments, the NATA convention truly exceeded expectations. Thanks to Advisory Council Dr. Prem Reddy, Dr. Pailla Malla Reddy, Dr. M.S. Reddy, AVN Reddy, Gummadi Dharma Reddy, BOD, SC, RVP, Core Committee, Convention Committees & Overseas Coordinator Dr. Dwarakanath Reddy for making convention grand success.
Gallery(Day3): SPB Lifetime and DSP Grand Finale
NATA thanked co-hosts TAMA and GATA for their unconditional support. Special thanks to media partners TV5, TV9, manatv, 10TV, YUPPTV, 6TV for covering the event.
Congratulations to everyone on great achievement and thanks to our grand sponsors for contributing selflessly that made this event such a success. Special thanks to Shri Pramod Sajja and Shri Murali Sajja of Corporate Grand Sponsor, Paramount Software Solutions. Without your dedication it would not have been possible! Thanks are due to water sponsor (movers.com), Hari Travels and PHOENIX Satish.
ప్రవాసాంధ్రులం కలుద్దాం! ప్రగతి బాటలో నడుద్దాం!!