Stirring melodious carols, dance presentations, inspiring speeches and an uplifting yuletide sermon marked the Christmas banquet hosted by the United Christian Cultural Association [UCCA] on December 16, 2022 at the Cotillion Banquet in Palatine, Illinois.
The celebrations drew a large gathering of families displaying the spirit of Christmas “with interludes of beautiful strains of Christmas carols presented by Tollywood’s blockbuster music director Anup Reuben that elevated the festive merriment,” organizers said in a press release.
India’s Consul General in Chicago Somnath Ghosh, and a host of community/business leaders representing all major faiths attended the gathering.
Musical performances were presented by Tollywood’s blockbuster music director Anup Reuben and his ensemble performing uplifting Christmas carols and musical hits. He presented a new genre of music, a fusion of the traditional Christmas songs transposed with upbeat melodies.
The evening celebrations set off with the inter-faith lighting of the Christmas candles led by Ambassador Ghosh, who in his remarks, said Christmas manifests joy, peace and fellowship with each other in the spirit of goodwill and love. He outlined the history and applauded the role of Christians in contributing to help build modern India. He also expressed his profound appreciation to the UCCA leaders for inviting him to the Christmas celebration and complimented them for hosting the event.
Dr. Heyer Devarapalli, founding chair of UCCA welcomed the gathering and noted that UCCA has been in the forefront taking initiatives in hosting medical camps, charitable drives and other humanitarian work to help fellow human beings – which he said represents the spirit of Christmas and Christianity. He thanked fellow board and directors for their unstinted cooperation in hosting the banquet and showcasing the community’s strength of unity and its growing significance.
Earlier, Keerthi Kumar Ravoori welcomed the gathering and introduced Ambassador Ghosh, and UCCA leaders honored the ambassador by presenting a silk shawl and flower bouquet.
Raju Enoch Pasumarthi, UCCA president thanked those present and added that UCCA is geared up to announce an exciting series of summer programs for the community. Emmanuel Neela, vice president UCCA recognized some of the prominent Telugu community leaders.
Vasanth Charles proposed a vote of thanks. Satish Dadepogu gave details of UCCA’s plans for hosting a summer cricket tournament in partnership with Illinois Cricket Association.
Pastor Zadda Chakravorthy delivered a Christmas sermonette. Youth presented a Christmas Nativity play directed by Deena Pasumarthi and performed by Tina Devarapallli and Sharon Dadepogu. Angel Varghese gave a special dance performance.
The Christmas candle light ceremony was led by Havilah Devarapalli, Margaret Charles, Saritha Pasumarthi, Ujwala Neela and Persis Dadepogu. The event was emceed by Margaret Charles. Several community leaders were acknowledged including Ajeet Singh, Madan Pamulpati, Sreenivas Bopanna, Nick Verma, Subbu Iyer, Mahesh Kakarla, Sheshu Reddy, Hemachandra, Ramakrishna Nuna, Naresh, Khurram Syed, Nageshwari Cherikonda, Malati Domaraju, Vijay Ravoori, Rahul Viratapu.
In closing UCCA President Raju Pasumarthi honored, Chicago community’s pastors Rev. Dr. David Vidyasagar, Rajamani Gounu, Subhadra Vipparthi, Victor Omega, Mathew Vattiprolu, Zadda Chakravorthy and Madhukar Bushi.
The evening celebrations concluded with singing the traditional carol “Silent Night” which was followed by a festive dinner.