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Telugu heritage shines for audience of 10,000 at NATA Convention in Atlanta

August 2014
Telugu heritage shines for audience of 10,000 at NATA Convention in Atlanta

 

A Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to singer Padmabhushan Sripati Panditharadyula Bala Subrahmanyam garu or SPB as he is affectionately known.
(All Photos: Vakiti Creations)

 

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 was glorious for Telugu speaking people; the three day cultural extravaganza made happiness redefined, and ecstasy ran unshackled. Enriching literary presentations from world renowned scholars and poets, and enthralling entertainment from various cultural teams that ranged through classical, semiclassical, fusion, film songs, folk songs, and dances whet the appetite of all connoisseurs present at the sprawling Georgia World Congress Center.

Dignitaries who graced the occasion included spiritual leader Amma Sri Karunamayi; TTD Chairman Kanumuri Bapiraju; music director Devi Sri Prasad; Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri; lyric writer and NATA Brand Ambassador Chandra Bose; lyricist Sirivennela; Padmasree Dr. 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 such as Chevireddy Bhaskar Reddy MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly), Teegala Krishna Reddy MLA, L. Ramana TDP (Telugu Desam Party) Telangana Leader, Revanth Reddy MLA, Jitta Surender Reddy, and 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 excitement with their fantastic humor and spontaneous exchanges. Melody was in the air as singers Sunitha, Gopika Poornima, Mallikarjun, and other stalwarts gave commanding performances.

Day 1. It is a herculean task in itself figuring out what to mention for an event of such epic proportions as this convention. People of Telugu origin from all over the world met and celebrated the Telugu culture and heritage. The banquet on July 4th was a formal evening for sponsor and donor recognition, attended also by glitterati and Who’s Who of the Telugu diaspora.

The stage backdrop of colored panels was by Bytegraph Creations. The table and chair linen, ice sculptures, fruit art, and food canopies around the hall were a visual feast. Table centerpieces had fresh orchids on top of gold mesh, and bottles of premium wine were provided by corporate grand sponsor, Paramount Software Solutions.

Several audiovisual screens enhanced viewing of the main stage and showed video displays of sponsors along with teasers for next two days. American Idol semifinalist Shubha Vedula gave the American and Indian national anthems with a group of teenagers. A group dance to lord Ganesha was the first dance of the convention: Mahaganapathim, a fusion dance.

NATA Excellency awards were presented to outstanding individuals from various fields such as medical, community service, media, research, entrepreneurship, and other areas. Service awards were conferred upon individuals for their support of NATA Seva Days in India and elsewhere. Benefactor awards were given to 10k donors.

Sunitha Upadrashta entertained the audience with her emceeing as well as melodies from her hit movies. Mallikarjun and Gopika Poornima also sang. A fusion dance "Talking Drums" choreographed by Smt. Padmaja Kelam and Siddarth Kelam showcased grace while fast footwork kept an energetic rhythm. A group from Shiv's Institute of Dance performed to a Telugu film song medley which was enjoyed by everyone.

Day 2 kicked off with a flash mob witnessed by a huge gathering, followed by the Swagatham (welcome) song and inaugural dance for the song, written by NATA Brand Ambassador Shri Chandrabose, music composed by Shri Ramachari Komanduri, and choreographed by Smt. Neelima Gaddamanugu. [This item was received with much enthusiasm, has been requested for playing on the radio in India, and for an award in India--see video at end of report.]  Chief Guest Governor Nathan Deal addressed the gathering after an inaugural theme dance extolling the Telugu heritage and release of the Inaugural CD. Governor Deal highlighted the achievements of Indians in various fields and the partnership between the U.S. and India. He recognized contributions of people of Telugu origin around the world and lauded efforts by the Telugu community in community services and charitable work.

Cultural programs including classical, semiclassical, and folk dances and music, skits, and plays enthralled audiences. Saturday entertainment emceed by 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, musical performances including an extraordinary performance by Flute Nagaraj, and singer Madhoo, exotic dance item Ändamaina Bhamalu - Letha merupu teegalu by 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 marked a delightful end to the day’s festivities.

NATA_NinaDavuluri680.jpg

Miss USA Nina Davuluri.

Day 3 got off to a rousing start with a sensational rendition of Annamayya songs by 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 and Malgudi Shubha, light music segment, NATA Mahalakshmi Game Show, Shravya Ganam – Visually Challenged Kids Musical Program, Miss America Nina Davuluri, Sri Raamayanam – Kuchipudi dance by Neelima G team, recognition of convention team by NATA and 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 a Lifetime Achievement Award to Padmabhushan Sripati Panditharadyula Bala Subrahmanyam garu or SPB as he is affectionately known. The spirit and talent of SPB, the “Gana Gandharva,” one of the best singers in the world, is well known. 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 awarding a swarnakankanam, memento, bouquet, and shawl to this singer of the millennium. The capacity crowd of 10,000 gave a standing ovation to SPB, and his song “Punya Bhoomi Naa Desam Namo Namami” was the highlight of the convention. [See this video also at end of report.]

NATA_DSP680.jpg

Composer and singer Devi Sri Prasad or DSP brings the audience to its feet.

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 current Telugu films. As the sizzling numbers were belted out in glorious style, the audience was on its feet, clapping and swaying, or dancing to the superb melodies.

A plethora of forums had interesting programs such as nostalgic alumni meet ups; spirited carrom, chess, sports tournaments; 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 and 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; and Bhale Jodi game show, competitive rounds like JAM - Just a minute, Talent round, Okariki Okaru, 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 (a literary feat unique to Telugu language, in which a scholar answers questions from eight other scholars) by Sri Narala Rama Reddy—all engaged, educated, and entertained the audience with their amazing command of the Telugu language and fantastic creativity.

Countless memorable moments were made, that 45 convention committee members and scores of volunteers had worked indefatigably with NATA leadership for the last 18 months to bring to fruition. Thanks went to Dr. Prem Reddy, Dr. Pailla Malla Reddy, Dr. M.S. Reddy, AVN Reddy, Gummadi Dharma Reddy, Overseas Coordinator Dr. Dwarakanath Reddy, TAMA, GATA, Mayuri restaurant – Houston and Suvidha, sponsors such as Shri Pramod Sajja and Shri Murali Sajja of Corporate Grand Sponsor Paramount Software Solutions, and many more (see below), for making the convention a grand success.

Website Bonus Feature

Videos:
1) Opening ceremony song of the 2014 NATA Convention in Atlanta:
a) Raaga.com, a major online radio station that plays Telugu songs across AP - India and in this country, wants to play the NATA Inaugural song on their radio because of its uniqueness, modernity, and melody.
b) Radio Mirchi, a major radio station in AP - India wants to give an Award for the NATA inaugural song because of its uniqueness among Telugu songs in describing the history and culture of the Telugu Heritage.
Credits: Mr. Chandrabose garu for writing, Mr. Ramachari Komanduri garu and his troupe for music composition/recording, Neelima Gaddamanugu for choreographing, 100 participants for dancing.
 

2) NATA 2014 Atlanta - Life time Achievement Award - Padmabhushan Sripati Panditharadyula Bala Subrahmanyam - By ByteGraph events, Published on Jul 28, 2014

3) Nathan Deal, Georgia Governor inaugurates 2nd NATA Convention in Atlanta. Video by Ravi Ponangi. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGW9CJHTWE4&feature=em-share_video_user

4) Swami Adhyatmanandaji speaking in business Seminar of NATA Convention. Video by Ravi Ponangi. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5xh2fOIN8k&feature=em-share_video_user

Photo Gallery, Banquet:
http://venkatphotography.com/nata-banquet
Photo Gallery, Governor Nathan Deal:
http://gvrao.smugmug.com/Other/NATAInauguralGovernorNathanDea/42808105_czHCB4#!i=3375039668&k=6LPNGLx
Photo Gallery, SPB Lifetime Award and DSP Grand Finale:
http://gvrao.smugmug.com/Other/NATA3rdDay/42809237_JtXppt#!i=3375148119&k=MR9Bxwz
Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/498222783573519/732435366818925/?notif_t=group_activity

It was a great experience to have 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.
Thanks to:
Advisory Council Dr. Prem Reddy, Dr. Pailla Malla Reddy, Dr. M.S. Reddy, AVN Reddy, Gummadi Dharma Reddy,
Board of Directors: http://www.nataus.org/?page_id=4531
Standing Committee: http://www.nataus.org/?page_id=4533
Regional Vice Presidents: http://www.nataus.org/?page_id=4532
Core Committee: http://www.nata2014.com/committee/core-committee.php
Convention Committees: http://www.nata2014.com/committees.php
Overseas Coordinator Dr. Dwarakanath Reddy
Banquet Committee: http://www.nata2014.com/committee/banquet.php

Co-hosts TAMA and GATA
Donors: http://www.nata2014.com/donors.php
Food: Mayuri restaurant – Houston’s Mr. Dayakar Reddy for the delicious food for banquet, lunch and dinner on Saturday and Sundays, and Suvidha for providing breakfast.
Media partners TV5, TV9, manatv, 10TV, YUPPTV, 6TV.
Sponsors, including special thanks to Shri Pramod Sajja and Shri Murali Sajja of Corporate Grand Sponsor, Paramount Software Solutions.
Water sponsor (movers.com), Hari Travels, and PHOENIX Satish.


[Additional video added 8/11/14.]

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