her Life

BIRTH AND EARLY YEARS

Anjali SenGupta was born on 15 December 1948 in Calcutta, India. She was the second of five children to Lalit Mohan and Bijoli Kundu, the other children being Jyoti, Amar, Ranjit and Dipak. She schooled at Mt. Hermon School, Darjeeling, before attending Loreto House College, Calcutta. She began piano lessons at the age of 6 and continued these throughout her school and college years: at The Calcutta School of Music, then at Mt. Hermon School, and again at Calcutta School of Music. Her special interest from an early age was Choral singing, which she continued to pursue in adulthood.

FAMILY

Anjali got engaged to Satyan SenGupta while she was attending Loreto House College. They were both part of the St. Paul’s Cathedral youth group where they had met. They were married on 13 January 1968. Nikhil was born in 1969 and Vivek in 1974. They subsequently married Yogita and Mayya respectively. Nikhil and Yogita had twins in 2007, Aalya and Rehan. Anjali’s grandkids were a source of great joy and happiness to her. She would very fondly follow their various extracurricular activities, Aalya with her gymnastics and sports, and Rehan with his music and piano playing. Satyan sadly passed away in 2010. She is survived by her two sons, Nikhil and Vivek, their wives Yogita and Mayya, and grandchildren Aalya and Rehan.

CAREER AND MUSIC

Anjali joined the Staff of La Martiniere for Girls from 1st July 1975, and retired in December 2010 after a long tenure of over 35 years. At first, she taught Singing in the Junior & Middle Schools, as well as English subjects in the Junior Section (English Language, Literature, Poetry/Elocution).After 9 yrs of teaching English there was a dearth of a Music Teacher for the Senior School, so she took on the portfolio of the entire Music Department, from the 2 and a half year olds to the 18 year olds for several years. Even when a music teacher was acquired for the Kindergarten Department, the littlest ones, in the Nursery, and from Class 3 up to the senior-most remained under her tutelage.

Her work comprised of playing for all Assemblies (three every morning), taking the Singing Classes for all age groups: Nursery to Class 10 in those years; playing for Sports Days’ March Past and Drill displays, training Choirs for special occasions like the Founder’s Day services in each section of La Martiniere for Girls; Junior School Concert items and musical plays were regular those days, and also preparing Junior and Middle School groups for Inter-School singing competitions.

Events involving the Senior school were for more prestigious & public performances, like on Founder’s Day, where a Choir of 100-150 girls would perform. Visitors like Heads of State Government and various Consulates had been the Chief guests.Working with the Chorus for musicals such as Fiddler on the Roof and Phantom of the Opera had also been part of her involvement. La Martiniere Sunday, when both the Girls’ and Boys’ Schools together hold a service at St. Paul’s Cathedral, is an annual event. Mrs. SenGupta would play the Cathedral organ, as well as accompany the Girls’ Choir for a special anthem. One of her favourite highlights was presenting a Choir for the annual Carol Evening. The hard work it entailed over a very short period of time was stressful, but the joy of working with a smaller group (60/65) of the senior-most girls was very rewarding because of the fine quality of harmonious singing they were able to achieve.

A Special Commemoration for 150 years of La Martiniere, Kolkata, in 1986,with a grand Choir of 150 Girls and 150 Boys, as well as a huge Orchestra, for the landmark event made front page news. 300 voices in 4-part harmony singing with orchestral accompaniment added magnificence to the occasion. Likewise, the 175th year celebrations in 2010 began with an Opening Ceremony with not only a Choir of 100 school children, but also a Staff Choir of the Girls’& Boys’ Schools for the first time, trained by Anjali.

During Anjali’s years at LMG she was also House Mistress for Martin House from Jan 1984 - June 1986.

Anjali's special interest from an early age was Choral singing, which she continued to pursue in adulthood, singing with various Choral groups: the St. Paul’s Cathedral Choir, The Calcutta Chorale, and The Funtastiques.

ST. PAUL'S CATHEDRAL

Anjali attended St. Pauls’ Cathedral from an early age even before she was married. She was an active member of the choir, and ultimately became the choir director and organist of St. Paul’s Cathedral for seventeen years in an honorary capacity. She would diligently take choir practices every Thursday evening, and play for the Sunday “sung Eucharist” service. She also played for many other events at the church such as weddings, funeral and memorial services, and special services. In particular she would train the choir to perform excellently for the annual “Nine Lessons and Carols” service every December, as well as organize, train and deliver top notch performances from the boys and girls choirs at “La Martiniere Sunday” every year at St. Paul’s.

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Anjali was awarded the Dr. (Mrs.) N. B. O’Brien lifetime achievement award in August 2018 from the Telegraph Education Foundation for a lifetime of excellence and contribution to music.

IN HER OWN WORDS

On looking back over her 35-plus year tenure, Anjali SenGupta had expressed her gratefulness for the very fulfilling career she had working with kids of all ages (from 2-plus to the Plus-2’s, as the girls would say!) imparting her love for Music. Her earliest students are now women of substance in their 40’s & 50’s; many are scattered around the world and would stay connected with her, often reminiscing of the excitement & love for music which she helped to kindle in them. Such are the rich rewards of teaching a subject that is one’s passion! In her own words, she expressed this by saying, “Thank You, La Martiniere for Girls - I cherish my years with you! I learnt a lot, experienced so much, and was left with a treasure chest of precious memories!”