Volunteer Spotlight - Vijaya Sundaram and Sharada Sundaram-Senders
(A mother and daughter Reveling duo)
When and how did you first get involved with Revels?
Sharada: One of my old friends was in the Revels Homeschool Chorus in 2013, so my parents signed me up for it. I was eight years old at the time, and I continued with the Homeschool chorus until I was 11 or 12.
Vijaya: I got involved with Revels in the Fall of 2017, when my daughter was in the Italian show. My involvement was minimal then - I dropped her off, and picked her up, and volunteered with snacks, while my husband did the "behind-the-desk" volunteering a couple of times.
What other activities have you done with Revels?
Sharada: I've done two RiverSings, possibly two Spring Sings, and I've done three years of Christmas Revels starting in 2017 (this year obviously doesn't count).
Vijaya: I joined Revels as part of the Adult Chorus in 2018 - in the Scandinavian show. I auditioned (it was my first time singing with Revels), and got in. I auditioned again the following year (2019), and got in again.
What do you like about being involved with Revels?
Sharada: I've made a lot of friends from Revels. In December, when we have the rehearsals and the shows, we see each other 3-4 times a week. It gives me the opportunity to get to know people better, to socialize with said people, and to spend a lot of time with them. Revels also gives me the opportunity to sing a lot, which is something I always like to do. Also, the food provided on the all-day Saturday rehearsals and the double show days is fantastic.
Vijaya: I love the camaraderie among the singers. The gorgeous costumes are a treat for the eyes. I totally dig all the wonderful music, the creativity, the brilliant stage design and lights.
Of what contribution or achievement are you most proud?
Vijaya: Um ... nothing, really. I just liked being there with wonderful singers and musicians. I guess I'm happy I didn't make any terrible mistakes while on stage
Are there any particular incidents or events with Revels that really moved you or made an impact on you?
Sharada: Taking part in Revels productions has impacted my life in a substantial way. As for a single incident, I can't think of anything.
Vijaya: I loved the acting in both the shows with which I was involved as a singer. I am always moved by the actors. I was deeply moved when Ana sang her solo on stage last year, with Josh Paulin bringing her on. Her voice brought tears to my eyes.
Does anyone in your life play a role in supporting your involvement?
Sharada: I mentioned the friend who got me into Homeschool chorus in the first answer. She got me involved with Revels in the first place (though her parents probably told my parents about it; she and I were pretty young), even though she was only there in my 1st year. Aside from her, my mom signed me up for my 1st Christmas Revels when I was 12. She then joined the adult chorus in 2018, and performed again in 2019 (I was in RAP [Revels Apprentice Program] for those 2 years). When I was in the Kids Chorus, I auditioned with a Hamilton song, so I guess the Hamilton soundtrack got me into Christmas Revels in a way.
Vijaya: My husband (Warren Senders) has been highly supportive of both Sharada's and my involvement with Revels, even though it took us away from him for long periods of time. I felt bad leaving him for several hours, especially when the show drew closer.
Is there anything else you would like others to know about Revels?
Sharada: Being a volunteer at Revels is pretty fantastic, although I needed to prep for it way in advance (things such as alerting my band director as to when I would be absent for Saturday rehearsals). Some things that other people should know about Revels are that it's fun, it's time-consuming in an exciting way, and it's an opportunity to do awesome music-related things.
Vijaya: What I'd like people to know about Revels is that it's brilliant to sing with all these people who love to sing! I want to say to everyone: Join a chorus! Lift your voice in song. Share the joy. Volunteer, if you can. Revels supports artists, singers, musicians, actors and managers in creative ways. Many people feel valued here.
Do you have any interesting Revels related “factoids”?
Sharada: Last year, one of my fellow RAP kids and I were featured in the children's program. When one of the other RAP kids read it, they asked me whether I was 16. Obviously, I was pretty confused, because they already knew that I was 14. It turns out that my age was put down wrong in the kids program. That was pretty funny.
Vijaya: Sorry, no factoids! I could never afford to attend a show - until I participated in one, or my daughter participated in one.
What do you do when you are not volunteering with Revels? Do you volunteer with any other organizations?
Sharada: When I'm not with Revels (and sometimes while I'm doing Revels as well), I read a lot (I'm currently rereading the Magnus Chase trilogy). I'm currently in a band (coincidentally, one of my friends from Revels happens to be in the same band). I have a lot of classes (at least 3 of them are music-related). As for volunteering, I was an intern at 350 Mass (an organization dedicated to raising awareness about climate change) for a few months before lockdown.
Vijaya: Nope - I have no time to volunteer with anyone at the moment. I am a professor at a local college, and the work-load has been increasing steadily. In fact, as soon as I finish typing this (at 1:00 a.m.), I'm going back to getting some more work done on my Winter Online Course - I need to have it ready to be submitted to the college for perusal.
Women's Chorus- Christmas 2019