About Opening Reception

The Eye on India fundraiser will preview highlights of the upcoming festival, including the “Zero Waste Sari Project” created by fashion students of Columbia College Chicago. The evening also includes dinner and musical entertainment by Sara Ranganathan (a.k.a. “Saraswati Veena”), Chicago Children’s Choir and guest performer Preetish Chakraborty.

In addition, Eye on India will honor an outstanding ambassador of Indian and American cultural exchange.


Saraswathi Veena

Hailing from a family of musicians, Saraswathi started learning Veena at the age of 6 from her mother Shantha, grandmother Gaana Sudhaakara Sulochana Mahadevan and Karnataka Kalashree EP Alamelu. This passionate interest with extensive listening to great stalwarts from a young age, has blossomed into Saraswathi’s deep knowledge in Carnatic Classical music as well as an openness and receptivity to blend Carnatic classical with western, flamenco, Turkish, Afro, Blues, Jazz and other genres.

Saraswathi brings a fresh verve to Veena rendition with her versatile play — Saraswathi passionately believes that her goal of bringing people together can be achieved through the eternal fragrance and perennial freshness of Carnatic classical music. Saraswathi holds a Masters in Sanskrit and an MBA from Loyola University of Chicago. She runs her music school, Ensemble of Ragas in Schaumburg teaching Carnatic Classical Vocal and Veena.


Chicago Children’s Choir

Founded in 1956 during the Civil Rights Movement, Chicago Children’s Choir is a multiracial, multicultural choral music education organization, shaping the future by making a difference in the lives of children and youth through musical excellence.

Today, the Choir serves over 3,000 children ages 8 to 18 through choirs in 60 schools, after-school programs in 8 Chicago neighborhoods and the internationally acclaimed Concert Choir. As a touring ensemble, the Choir has performed throughout the United States, Canada, South Africa, Korea, Japan, South America and Europe and for such dignitaries as Bill and Hillary Clinton, the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The performance will feature Chicago Children’s Choir Alumnus Phillip Armstrong and Dave Hiltebrand on guitar.


Preetish Chakraborty

Preetish Chakraborty is 11 years old and lives in Aurora, IL. His training started at age 6 in Hindustani classical by well-known classical and Bengali contemporary singer Nirmalya Roy from Kolkata. Preetish has performed in several local programs, including programs for the Bengali Association of Greater Chicago (BAGC).

In Feb, 2015 began the Saregamapa Li’l Champs journey (A program similar to American Idol for youth). For the first time ever, Zee TV organized the SaReGaMaPa Li’l Champs North America competition in 2015. Preetish was featured in the Top 14 and travelled to Mumbai where he received training and coaching from the entire Zee team. And for his performance, he rocked the stage just like Rishi Kapoor did (in the original movie) with Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhonsle’s famous song “Ek Haseena Thi”. Eye on India is proud to present this young talent who won 2nd runner up!


Colombia College Chicago — Fashion Students

For the 2015 Eye on India festival, we have continued our work with the Columbia College Chicago fashion students and faculty on a Sari Project focused on Zero Waste and Sustainability. The students who have participated, 33 in total, have used donated fabrics and saris to create one-of-a-kind, wearable pieces based off of a concept of their choosing. Part of the project requirements were to use 100% of the yardage they were given, as well as document their process in a mood board/journal. On May 28th, the Opening Night of the festival, 9 of the strongest pieces will be displayed at the Bridgeport Art Center for everyone to view. Last year, the best pieces of the year’s Sari Project were showcased in both Columbia College in their 618 S. Michigan Avenue building as well as Willis Tower. The winner of last year’s Sari Project, Nicole Dieschbourg, received an internship with Maria Pinto—a leading contemporary designer whose collection has been worn by the likes of Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Brooke Shields.

The Columbia College Chicago faculty involved with this year’s Sari Project are Arnab Majumdar, Beata Kania, Debra Duggan and Liz Williams.

Event Info:

  • Thursday, May 28 at 6:30pm
  • Bridgeport Arts Center 1200 W 35th Street