Chicago, 27th January 2014: When several associations in India does not last more than 4 years, in Chicago, USA far away from our country to see a wonderful organization for 43 years which is Telugu Association of Greater Chicago (TAGC) is a real achievement said Srikakulam Srinivas the famous Mimicry Artist. It is wonderful to see that the culture from generations are being passed to the little ones said the Honorable Mayor of Lemont, IL. A Chilly night (- 80 C) in Chicago, with some snow on the ground did not deter over 135 participants starting with a Patriotic Song followed by several Cultural performances including Kuchipudi Dances, Traditional dance to Sankranthi songs bought back nostalgia to our village sceneries, and the audience wondered if there were Tollywood stars performing when they saw several Local Chicago residents on the stage performing to many Tollywood medleys was held on January 25, 2014. The auditorium was beautifully decorated with the backgrounds of ethnic Sankranthi look. A great display of “Bommala Koluvu” led by Malleswari Pedamallu formed the centerpiece of the front stage.

TAGC Sankranthi and India Republic Day Celebrations a great kickoff for 2014 performance 1
TAGC Sankranthi and India Republic Day Celebrations a great kickoff for 2014 performance

The Honorable Mayor of Lemont, IL – Brian K. Reaves, attended the event, and he commented how wonderful it is to see that the culture of the parents and the heritage is being passed down to the children, Board of Director Dinkar Karumuri introduced the Mayor, and a commemorative Plaque was presented by ATA President Karunakar Madhavaram and TAGC President Srinivas Pedamallu and Narendar Chemarla, Treasurer of ATA.

TAGC Sankranthi and India Republic Day Celebrations a great kickoff for 2014 performance
TAGC Sankranthi and India Republic Day Celebrations a great kickoff for 2014 performance

The cultural program which started and ended very much on time was coordinated by Sujatha Appalaneni and Siva Pasumarthi assisted by various coordinators had several cultural dances, Traditional Boghi Pallu for over 70 little kids led by our BoDs Malathi Damaraju and Kiran Mattey, and the highlight of the program was a live Jeopardy show based on Telugu Movie songs where certain keywords and clues were provided to the teams and teams responded with singing 5 songs. The audience very well received the program and the event was a grand success with 800+ people. Some of the details of the cultural program are: The cultural program started with TAGC 2014 President, Srinivas Pedamallu, Past Presidents Ramesh Garapaty and Kalyan Anandula by traditional lighting of the lamp. Opening with a musical prayer (Minu Pasupati) followed by chanting of Sanskrit slokas by students of Prajna school started the journey of an enchanting evening co-ordinated by Sundar Dittakavi as master of the ceremony with assistance from Cultural Chair Sujatha Appalaneni and Co-Chair Siva Pasumarthi. First segment of Desa Bhakthi songs (“Ee Desam Naa Desam” by Veni Sanakkayala, “I am an Indian” by Madhavi Gandham) brought the nostalgia of being part of Indian Independence and Republic Day Celebrations back home to every adult in the audience.

TAGC Sankranthi and India Republic Day Celebrations a great kickoff for 2014 performance
TAGC Sankranthi and India Republic Day Celebrations a great kickoff for 2014 performance

The little ones enchanted the audience with performances in Chitapata Chinukulu (Priya Chanuduri), Dhoom Machale Dhoom (Sonia Agarwal), Singam Dance (Sri Latha), Scores from Julai (Veni Sanakkayala) and Power Medley (Madhavi Gandham). Nine year old, Nayanth as “Chicago Chinnodu” stole the show with his excellent voice and singing skills. Charming young girls with their “Banthipoola Janaki” song dance, “Konchem Ishtam Konchem Kashtam” (Prasuna Voruganti) captivated audience.

TAGC Sankranthi and India Republic Day Celebrations a great kickoff for 2014 performance
TAGC Sankranthi and India Republic Day Celebrations a great kickoff for 2014 performance
TAGC Sankranthi and India Republic Day Celebrations a great kickoff for 2014 performance
TAGC Sankranthi and India Republic Day Celebrations a great kickoff for 2014 performance

“Annamayya Pada Keerthana” choreographed by Prasuna Vootkur, immersed audience in bhakthi paravasyam for lord of seven hills thru sankeertanas like “Vinaro Bhagyam Vishunu Katha” and “Bramhamokkate Para Bramhamokkate”.  ”Jeopardy-Fun Reality Show” organized by Sandhya Appalaneni and Sairavi Suribhotla is a feast not only for the participants but for the entire audience getting in involved in Tollywood knowledge showcase. Classical dance items choreographed by Sushmita Arunakumar and Janaki Anandavalli were gratifying experience for the classical appetite of the viewers. “Kaliya Mardhanam” an experimental Kuchipudi dance item by Janaki Anadavalli received great appreciation by the audience due the phenomenal dance movements and facial expressions by the participants. Instrumental fusion dance item by Sushmita Arunkumar was very well received. Sankranthi fervor was clearly visible and transported the audience to “palle vathavaranam” by bringing the “Haridasus, Gangiredlu, Muggulu, Vuppula Guppalu” in the theme dance choreographed by Jyothirmayi Vangara was a mesmerizing performance and showcased the rich Telugu culture.

TAGC Sankranthi and India Republic Day Celebrations a great kickoff for 2014 performance
TAGC Sankranthi and India Republic Day Celebrations a great kickoff for 2014 performance
TAGC Sankranthi and India Republic Day Celebrations a great kickoff for 2014 performance
TAGC Sankranthi and India Republic Day Celebrations a great kickoff for 2014 performance

As part of the celebrations, the Youth Committee chaired by Vandana Reddy gave awards for Art Competition. President of TAGC for 2014, Srinivas Pedamallu addressed the crowd starting with a 1 minute silence to mourn for the passing away of Late Akkineni Nageswara Rao, who was one of the greatest movie stars and dedicated his life to Telugu movies. As part of his address to the crowd, he stressed the importance of inculcating the Telugu Culture to the kids, and how important it is for the younger generation to be able to feel part of it and not as a foreign culture, and the tradition of TAGC lies in the hands of the Youth to take over and become presidents of TAGC in the future. He laid out his vision for 2014 and stressed the importance of Telugu community in Mainstream America and has indicated that having the Mayor of Lemont was the beginning. He also thanked the Platinum sponsors Ashok Lakshmanan from PMSI Mortgage Solutions, and Krishna Rangaraju from NewYork Life for their Platinum sponsorship and continued support to TAGC. He thanked all the Board of Directors, Executive committee, Youth committee and Volunteers for the all the hard work and making the event a grand success despite the inclement weather.

TAGC Sankranthi and India Republic Day Celebrations a great kickoff for 2014 performance
TAGC Sankranthi and India Republic Day Celebrations a great kickoff for 2014 performance

The special performance of the night was done by Mimicry Srinivas who came all the way from Srikakulam, Andhra Pradesh to perform at TAGC and has given a entertaining performance and engaged the audience by performing ventriloquism followed by Mimicry. The audience were engaged and he was cheered for his wonderful performance.

Other highlights included a bountiful spread of ethnic authentic Telugu food provided by a local restaurant Masala and the highlight included traditional Ariselu provided by Devi Foods as part of the food. Raghav Jatla and Dinkar Karumuri chaired the food committee and KSN Reddy and Narendar Chemarla led the hospitality.TAGC India Republic Day Celebrations  2 TAGC India Republic Day Celebrations  3 TAGC India Republic Day Celebrations 1The program’s master of ceremony was Sundar Dittakavi. Hari Raini provided the vote of thanks to all the committers and its volunteers, especially to the Youth committee volunteers led by Vandana Reddy, Lemont Temple management to Bhima Reddy and his team of trustees and the program was concluded with the Indian National Anthem. The program ended on schedule around 10:00 p.m. The video and photography was handled by TAGC BoD Murthy Pisipati and CATS team hospitality was led by Bhargavi Nettem.

TAGC members provided feedback that the online and the onsite registration process was improved; Ram Ade, Treasurer of TAGC 2014, Anji Reddy Kandimalla, Pradeep Kandimalla, Srinivas Chada, Ravi Upad, President-elect Jagan Bukkaraju greeted all the new and existing TAGC members at registration desk and gaveaway the traditional bindhis and muggus for all attendees.

TAGC Sankranthi and India Republic Day Celebrations a great kickoff for 2014
TAGC Sankranthi and India Republic Day Celebrations a great kickoff for 2014