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STONITES BAND ROCK 4TH NORTH EAST YOUTH FESTIVAL 2015

Published on: June 5 2015

 

Inspite of a heavy down-pour of rain from the eve of the festival right throughout the morning hours which made the ground of the stadium very soggy and inconvenient for the people to walk to and fro, the 4th Annual North East Youth Festival, 2015 under the theme ‘Youth for Environment, Heritage and Culture’ organized by the Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) on behalf of the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, Government of India began on the 29th May at 11:00 Am at the Garmur Mimi Stadium of Majuli as scheduled with some last minute arrangements. The inaugural function lasted till 1:30 Pm where the participants from the eight North Eastern States - Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim were given a hearty welcome by the organizing committee. Each state contingent comprised about 80 – 120 participants. The festival was a three-day long affair – 29th to 31st May, 2015, during which the following activities were organised at separate venues:
I. Competitive Events (Participation limited only to the 8 North Eastern States): 
 (a)Instrumental (Guitar) – Solo Event;
(b)Folk Dance – Group Event;
(c)Folk Song – Group Event;
 (d)Rock Band – Group Event;
 (e)One Act Play – Group Event.
II. Non-Competitive Events (Participation limited only to the 8 North Eastern States for the 
    display of various items unique to the State before a larger audience):
 (a) Martial Arts – Presentation;
        (b)Folk Arts – Presentation;
        (c)Music Dance – Presentation;
        (d)Cultural Items – Presentation.
III. Yuva Kriti (All India Handicraft and Handloom Exhibition opened to all the states and        
      union territories.)
IV. Food Festival (The Cuisines of India opened to all the states and union territories.)
V. Adventure Activities
(a)Boating;
(b)Hot-Air Balloon.
VI. Seminar on Local Issues
The programme was graced and patronised by Honourable dignitaries, such as:
  • His Excellency, Padamanabha Balakrishna Acharya,Governor of Assam & Nagaland.
  • Mr. Sarbananda Sonowal, Minister of State (Independent Charge), Youth Affairs & Sports.
  • Mr. Kiren Rijiju, Minister of State for Home Affairs.
  • Mr. Sripad Yesso Naik, Minister of State (Independent Charge).
  • Mr. Kamakhya Prasad Tasa, Member of Parliament.
  • Mr. P.A. Sangma, Member of Parliament.
  • Mr. Anand Kumar,Union Minister, Chemicals & Fertilizers.
  • Mr.Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State (Independent Charge), Culture, Tourism & Civil Aviation.
  • Mr. Ajit Singh, Minister of State (Independent Charge), Excise, Sports & Youth Welfare.
  • Mr. Rajen Gohain, Member of Parliament.
  • Mr. Rajeshwar Teto, Member of Parliament.
Besides, there were also a horde of other state officials and Zonal Directors of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports from the 8 North Eastern states. A total of more than 10000 locals and visitors thronged the island of Majuli to witness the festival. The food and the craft stalls were jam-packed by people who came bravely in numbers despite the frequent rain, all eager to taste the different cuisines and buy some crafts, memorabilia or clothing which were displayed by the people from all across the country. One could catch a glimpse of food, beverages, crafts and clothings from Jammu Kashmir, Bihar, Jarkhand, Uttaranchal besides the north eastern states; have an interaction with them and learn a little bit of their unique colourful cultures in these brief span of three days. 
Livingstone Foundation Higher Secondary School, Nagaland was honoured when the concerned department requested the institution to represent our state Nagaland in the ‘Rock Competition’ during the 4th Edition of the North East Youth Festival, 2015 which was to be held in Majuli, Assam. Assuming it would be a school level affair, we thought it would be a cake-walk considering our previous achievements with at least a month time to prepare.
Our preparations began with a blind enthusiasm as we had no precise set of instructions then. Little did we know the shock we were about to receive when the organisers sent us the guidelines for the competition. The eligibility in the age criteria was a minimum of 15 and a maximum of 29 years. Now, it was evident that it was neither going to be a school nor a college level affair, we were expected to be now competing against a handful of young musical maestros from the other 7 North Eastern States. Moreover, our experienced musicians and singers who had brought laurels for our school passed out Class 12 this year. We had only a couple of aspiring amateurs in our school band. Now, it was no turning back with only 10 days left, I, their teacher joined in the band as we were forced to double up the dedicated hard work that had already commenced. Our Stonites Band line up was finalised with 6 members playing 1 song and 5 members playing 2 songs for the competition, it read:
1) Sarah M Yepthomi – Lead Vocals
2) Menuolhoulie Tseikhanuo – Electric Guitars/backing vocals
3) Angukali Wotsa – Acoustic Guitars
4) Azo Pienyu – Bass Guitars/backing vocals
5) Denngam B Phom – Drums
6) Imlinungba Ao – Lead Vocals/Lead Guitars
The others who accompanied us were:
7) Merentoshi Tudir – Student
8) Molungzang Aier – Student 
9) Duangaimeilu Panmei – Student
10) Afi Snock – Asst.Teacher
Winning the competition was a far-fetched dream then, our mission was, “avoid the slightest error by getting the basics right, enjoy oneself and leave the rest to God and the judges.” Thus, with a team of 8 students (3 girls and 5 boys) accompanied by 1 male and 1 female teachers we started our journey on 28th May, 2015 to the island of Majuli  all keeping our fingers crossed. 
On reaching the destination the same evening, we had to wait for more than 3 hours for our rooms. Due to some communication gap the lodging arrangement which was mostly done in the various school classrooms were all packed, we had to rent 2 rooms elsewhere adjacent to the venue all by ourselves for our convenient stay – 1 for the boys and the other for the girls.
Our Stonites Band was required to play only in the 2nd Evening (Saturday, 30th May) thus, we had the opportunity to observe the performances of the other states like Mizoram and Assam during the 1st Evening. After watching these strong bands play, we assumed that we had better vocalists than the rest of the others though their music was very tight. Our band was comparatively very much younger than the rest, with a female instrumentalist as young as 15 and the rest varying till 17 years of age.Each band was given a slot of 30 minutes with a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 7 members. Our performances were assessed on the basis of qualities such as original composition (i.e. lyrics, melody, and arrangements), contents (vocals and instrument balance), stage presentation (attire, showmanship and professionalism) and overall impression and impact on the audience.
The results of all the competitive events were declared the next morning (Sunday, 31st May). The ‘Stonites Band’ were declared the winners in the Rock Competition (2nd - Meghalaya and 3rd - Mizoram). It was a matter of great pride to see our students walk up the podium to receive the award from His Excellency, Padamanabha Balakrishna Acharya the Governor of Assam & Nagaland who graced the closing ceremony. We received a cash award of twenty-one thousand rupees with certificates. 
On behalf of the institution, a sincere note of appreciation to Moanungsang (the 1st Naga Idol)you’re your help and encouragement to our students. Thank You also to Tufy (Aunty No.1) for your valuable assistance. We really couldn’t have done it without you guys. Thanks also to the Management of LFHSS for all your support.
I am, indeed, very proud of you guys, you have all worked very hard. God continue to bless and keep Livingstone Foundation Higher Secondary School. Long live Stonites! 
Long live Nagaland!
Report by- Mr.Imlinungba Ao
Music Teacher, LFHSS