The Tsunami in December 2004 shook South East Asia .This devastating catastrophe propelled into action one Dr. Sunil Paulraj, a Neonatal specialist currently serving the Royal Maternity Hospital Belfast, Northern Ireland. He rushed home to Bangalore, India, to do his bit for the Tsunami victims. Sunil partnered with FEBA Radio through a concert performance and raised funds for them. This set raging in him the inferno to give back to the society and chose music as the pathway. Thus, was born ‘Toccata’ in the year 2005. Toccata means “to touch” (from Italian ‘toccare’). Team Toccata, has been embodying the virtue of ‘touching lives’ one concert at a time, ever since.
Sharing in this distinctive vision, Kavitha Prasad a Business Management professional and Sunil’s long-time friend, joined hands with him and formed the “Toccata Kreations Trust” in Bangalore, India. It is registered as a Charitable Trust and is financially audited, as defined by the law in India.
The ensemble comprises of 85 experienced professional and semi-professional musicians from diverse backgrounds. The group is a reflection of multivariate perspectives gathered from International experiences, having performed around the world. Some members of Toccata are performers with London’s West end and few others have performed with celebrity artists like Dan Seals, Elton John, Kenyan Boys Choir and Indian Maestro Illayaa Raja to name a few. The soloists have triumphed in lead roles in Musicals like Lion King, Dusty Springfield, Phantom of the Opera, Warhorse, Sunset Boulevard, the West Side Story etc. Having earned a reputation for excellence and innovation, Toccata has over the years, built itself as one of UK’s premier musical bodies.
Toccata stands on three core pillars – Growing through Music; Giving through Music and Bonding through Music.
Growing through Music - Toccata provides the team a platform for international exposure. It endows them with opportunities to improvise on their style of music, understand different musical styles and renditions, adapt to appeal to wider global audiences and foster inter cultural exchanges. This is achieved by collaborating with local choirs (both adult and children’s choirs) with musical diversity. The Toccata ensemble has performed with the Baldwin Girls and Boys School, Ryan International School, Bangalore Children’s Choir, Bangalore; The Choice School, Kochi; Bangalore Adult’s Chorus; Stop-Gaps Cultural Academy and the Sri Lankan Choir. Forging newer partnerships is core to the Toccata concert life.
Giving through Music – Toccata has always aimed to encourage social consciousness and volunteerism among its members. The ensemble performs without a fee and raises funds through sponsorships and Gate revenue to support the identified beneficiary. The team also spends time with the various charities and take home unique experiences.
Toccata has performed in aid of a number of beneficiaries in Northern Ireland like the Rotary Club of Belfast & Donaghadee, Soroptimist Society Belfast, Brain Injury Matters, McCracken Memorial Church, Glenmachan Church of God and the Whitewell Tabernacle church.
On the International shores- Children afflicted by aids in Zambia, the Soweto Good Samaritan Orphanage in Kenya, Indian Charities like -The Little sisters of Poor, Reaching Hand Orphanage, U&I, Holdsworth Memorial Hospital and Green Pastures Hospital in Nepal are a few beneficiaries who have experienced Toccata’s spirit of giving.
Binding through Music – Toccata has been successful in bringing together people from varying backgrounds, faiths and races to perform as one family. It takes pride in having alleviated phobias, social pain and stigma besides adding newer friends and beautiful memories to their lives. The unique experiences through safaris, trekking, paragliding, rafting, visiting homes for the disadvantaged has only bound them tighter over the years.
Conferred with the title ‘Cultural Ambassadors of UK’, Toccata has travelled to over 15 nations and has taken its responsibility very seriously. Toccata is trained and led by the artistic batons of renowned choir directors, like Judith Sheridan and Colin Scott. Orchestrating the Toccata productions to world class performances are the celebrated stage directors Laura Kerr and Wilfie Pyper. The Toccata music gets its distinctive touch from the exceptional music arrangers Ben Wiles and Ian Tipping.
From the monumental hits to intimate classics, the genre includes country, pop, opera, sacred, Bollywood, regional classics and film music from different regions of the world. Music is presented in the most unexpected combinations and arrangements, striving for excellence in every project.
Toccata has aggregated about GBP 3 Million worth of decommissioned equipment and has donated it to health units and hospitals in Zambia, Kenya, Sri Lanka and India.
Toccata is the recipient of the –‘The Golden Rule award ’a prestigious UN recognition for humanity services. It is also the member of the coveted Children for Peace initiative.
Another initiative from the Toccata stable is the Toccata Medical Mission. This mission brings together doctors and nurses who volunteer to share best practices and the latest developments in the field of medicine through conferences and round table discussions. The medical mission has visited Kenya and India so far and has plans to take to it to many more nations.