Thomas Dale High School welcomed world-renowned musician and Grammy Award winner Sandip Burman last Tuesday morning, who engaged music students in the school’s Specialty Center for the Visual and Performing Arts with the unique sounds of traditional classical music native to India.
Burman, who has recorded with the Beatles and collaborated with film maker Tim Burton, in addition to other several artists and producers, had students gather around him on the floor of the chorus room while he performed first on the sitar – a plucked string instrument native to South Asia – and then on the tabla, which is a pair of small hand drums.
Having performed in Australia, Singapore, and Canada earlier this year, he made a brief stop in Chester a day before he was to travel west to Pulaski Country Senior High School in Dublin, Va.
“A main purpose of our specialty center is to expose students to all types of music,” said Pam Barton, coordinator of the center at Thomas Dale for 10 years now. She felt having Burman, whom she feels is an “extraordinary musician,” sit and play inches away from students was at the very least a treat for students of the program – which provides talented students interested in theatre, music, dance, and the visual arts an avenue to both explore and expand their creative potential.
Other musicians to have visited Thomas Dale since the beginning of the program include members of the Dave Matthews Band, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and Itzhak Perlman, a violin virtuoso – among many others.
For two separate sessions Burman played for students, taking time in between to explain the dynamics and anatomy of the instruments; and then answering questions from the young, entranced musicians.
Thomas Dale junior Jacob Courington, a student in the program from the Bird school district, surely enjoyed the rare opportunity to hear Burman. “It was definitely amazing to experience,” Courington said. “He is certainly the best musician I’ve ever been that close to.”