Report by: Stany G D’Souza
Photoes by: Santhosh Veigas
Chicago, July 27: The Mangalorean Konkan Christian Association (MKCA), USA celebrated “Konkan fest-2010” at Courtland Square, Des Plaines, Illinois. This program reflected unique Mangalorean cultural extravaganza. This is the fourth time this kind of mega-event was convened but third time various competitions were held to preserve and promote rich Mangalorean cultural heritage. No other Association of Mangalorean Konkan Christian origin has ever ventured to hold multitude of competitions in any program in US.
The program started with welcome speech by MKCA president Queenie Mendonca. The president introduced the Chief Guest of the program Rev. Fr. Walter Mendonca, SVD, from British Virgin Islands who is visiting USA. Fr. Mendonca hails from Kulshekar, Mangalore who has dedicated his life for the cause of uplifting poor and downtrodden and presently serving at the backward areas of British Virgin Islands. In his response, Fr. Mendonca (speaking in Konkani) called upon all the Mangaloreans to unite and preserve the Mangalorean culture and be proud of our heritage and traditions. He also commended the members of MKCA for their initiative in preserving and promoting the rich Mangalorean culture and heritage by conducting programs like “Konkan Fest”
The Association honored an imminent personality Dr. Pillai, founder president of Indian Development Foundation (formerly known as Indian Leprosy Foundation) along with CEO and National Co-ordinator Dr. Narayan Iyer and Dr. S Franklin. Dr. Pillai is well known personality in India who has dedicated his entire life for eradicating leprosy. Rev. Fr. Mendonca, awarded Dr. Pillai, with Humanitarian Award of the Year – 2010 on behalf of MKCA. In his acceptance speech Dr. Pillai stated that India had 42 lakhs (4.2 million) Leprosy patients a few years back and due to concerted efforts by the Indian Government and his foundation to eradicate the decease, the number has drastically come down to 60,000 which is close to eradication considering India’s population of 1.2 billion. He thanked Queenie Mendonca for promoting his foundation on mangalorean.com. He said with this great promotion, his foundation had worldwide recognition and support.
It was a feast of Mangalorean food, displayed at the food competition. There were variety of food items and all of them were homemade by the contestants. There were four categories for the competition – appetizer, main course, dessert, and side dish. Mary Concepta Mendoza, Arun Serrao, Terry D’Souza and Rita Saldanha were the judges for the food competition. Judges had extensive background not only in preparation of authentic Mangalorean food, but also tasting it as well! Francis Mascarenhas, Secretary of MKCA introduced the judges to the audience. Following are the winners of food competition:
Main Course category – First place – Jossie Mendonca(Dukra maas) and second place Florine Rodrigues (Lamb biryani)
Side Dish category – First place – Edna Mascarenhas (Chana sukka) and second place Vissia D’Souza (Pomphret masala fry)
Appetizer category – First place – Vissia D’Souza (Mangalorean Buns) and second place Dorothy Rego (Ambade)
Dessert category – First place – Vissia D’Souza (Mango Kulfi)
Judges took their own time savoring the delicious dishes and some members were quite worried whether they would get their share! But to their surprise, there was enough for everyone! At the other corner, there was an open bar managed by Jossie Mendonca.
The second part of the program was singing and fancy dress competition. The immediate past president of MKCA, Lawrence Mascarenhas introduced the judges of Singing Competition, they are: William Saldanha, Melissa Miranda and Rose Mascarenhas. The judges themselves are very talented. William Saldanha was a founder member of United Youngsters, Mangalore and played guitar in “Wilfy Nites” in seventies. Lawrence Mascarenhas described him as a “KaLshe Pondlo Divo”. Melissa Miranda who is relatively new to Chicago was extensively involved in extra-curricular activities in Church and Schools in Mangalore. Rose Mascarenhas is a very good dance performer and talented singer.
Winners of the Singing and Fancy Dress competitions are as follows:
Singing competition – Age Group 0-6: Solo – Logan Quadros, first and Athan Rodrigues, second. Age group 7-12: Solo – Lloyd Quadros, first and Alannah Rodrigues, second. Duet – Lloyd Quadros and Nicole D’Souza first. Age group 13-19: Solo – Crystal Rodrigues, first. Group: The Cousins, First. Age 20 and above: Solo – Vanessa D’Souza, first and Ligoury Martis, second. Duet – Ifan and Vanessa D’Souza, first and Jossie Mendoncas and Stany D’Souza, second. Group: Vissia and group first.
Fancy Dress Competition – Age group 0-6: Solo – Athan Rodrigues. Age group 7-12: Solo – Alannah Rodrigues, first. Duet – Lloyd and Logan Quadros, first. Group – Alannah and group, first. Age group 13 – 19: Shawn D’Souza, first and Angel D’Souza, second. Duet – Joey Mendonca and Shawn D’Souza, first; Angel and Shannon D’Souza, second. Group: The cousins, first. Age group 20 and above – Solo – Ifan D’Souza, first, Sally Quadros, second. Duet – Godwin and Sarita D’Souza, first. Group: Ifan and group, first.
All the attendees cherished the wonderful dinner presented by the members and items presented by the food competitors. As a part of Mangalorean tradition in concluding the program, the entire audience took part in singing Laudathe Dominum.
Santhosh Veigas thanked the judges, all the guests, members of MKCA and especially the competitors for their support and help in achieving grand success for this program.
As usual program was concluded by singing of baila in Kokani, Kannada, Tulu, Hindi, Spanish and English by DJ Darrel Mascarenhas and his party. Dr. Austin Prabhu, effectively compeered the program. The program was well organized by a group of youth under the leadership of Rexon D’Souza, Darrel Mascarenhas and Santhosh Veigas.