Teens host benefit concert in Cary

aramos@newsobserver.comSeptember 16, 2013 

Visrut Sudhakar , 16, plays a mridangam, a south Indian drum. Visrut is a member of B-Melody, a local teen band from Cary which is putting on an benefit concert on Friday.

ALIANA RAMOS — aramos@newsobserver.com

  • If you go

    “An Evening of Music and Dance” starts a 7 p.m. Friday at the Cary Arts Center, 101 Dry Ave. Donations will be accepted. The two-hour show will include performances by classical Indian dancers.

    For more about B-Melody, go to bmelody.wordpress.com.

— In Svetak Sundhar’s living room on a Friday night, a group of teenagers gathered with their violins, drums and keyboard.

During one set, they played Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.” Then it was the theme song to the “Pink Panther” show.

The seven members of the band B-Melody – all of them teens – describe their sound as Hollywood to Bollywood. They’ve been playing together since they were in the third grade, and with many of the members set to graduate high school soon, they are making the most of their last months together by raising money for charity.

B-Melody is hosting “An Evening of Music and Dance” on Friday in Cary. The event is a benefit concert for The ALS Association’s Jim “Catfish” Hunter Chapter.

It’s a cause that is close to 16-year-old Sundhar’s heart. His grandfather died from the illness, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, about a year ago.

“He was diagnosed about seven years ago and we decided we wanted to do a charity concert, and everyone was on board for doing it for ALS,” said Sundhar, a junior at Enloe High School who plays the violin.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. The motor neurons that connect the brain, spinal cord and muscles slowly degenerate, eventually leading to paralysis and death, according to the ALS Association.

B-Melody hopes to raise about $2,500 from the concert. Some local businesses have already donated money.

“I think these kids are amazing and talented,” said Sundhar’s mother, Banu. “They are all passionate about music and they’ve done most of the work of organizing this themselves.”

Some of the band members are part of the Triangle Youth Philharmonic but still make time to rehearse with their childhood bandmates. Last year, B-Melody put on its first full one-hour show that combined Indian and western music.

Until then, the band had only performed at festivals like Cary's Diwali celebration.

Band members play a mix of traditional and Indian instruments. Sanjay Kannan plays the violin; Achintya Rajagopal plays the saxophone; Sreeja Sridharan plays the keyboard; Jay Rao plays the drums; Raghav Balu plays the tabla and Visrut Sudhakar plays the Mridangam, both Indian percussion instruments.

Although the teens go to different high schools, including Garner, Green Hope, Enloe and Raleigh Charter High School, the music has kept them together.

“We all get along together pretty well,” said Sreeja Sridharan, 16.

The band will also play at the Raleigh International Festival in October.

Ramos: 919-460-2609

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