The Dominic Savio Club and Choir.
Dominic Savio Club began in 1968 as a simple Bible Class run for the
children of Our Lady of Fatima's Parish after the Sunday morning Mass.
Finding a good response from the Church and the community, it evolved
into a proper club in 1970, for school-going children to improve their
religious education, having a constitution drawn up by Barney John and
approved and signed by Rev. Fr. Kieran Smith, then Parish Priest, and
countersigned by Jean Rodrigues and Barney. After a year or so, Allan
Goveas joined them, followed by George Furtado.
These three young men became the shining lights that would light a blaze
in the hearts of many, many children for generations to come. Barney
John was a planner, Allan Goveas a musician and a casual singer, last
but not the least, George Furtado was a jack of all trades, able to do
whatever had to be done. They were unmarried at the time, but,
nonetheless, ready to serve their Parish and community in the spiritual,
musical and social growth of its children.
The Dominic Savio Club meetings were held every Sunday morning after
Mass in the classrooms of Our Lady of Fatima's School, with the
permission and help of its Principals. Barney and Allan taught the
children Catechism, and read to them the stories from the Bible and
religious books, which were followed by discussions. There were Spelling
Bees and written contests, enlivened by meaningful movies in one of the
classrooms, with the windows darkened by curtains, and a sheet over the
blackboard on which the film was shown.
Later a Dominic Savio Club Committee was introduced, with elections
every two years. The enterprising teenagers who became Secretary and
Members learnt a lot, not only on how to run meetings but also take
minutes and have them passed, and a lot of official terminology about
'quorums' and so forth.
The Club not only consisted of study classes but it also had a library
and a game room, down by the side of the entrance door to the school.
There was a host of extra-curricular activities such as drawing,
painting, stitching, play-acting, origami sculpting, and others. When
the annual Mela or Christmas or Easter approached, craft classes were
undertaken to prepare the décor and settings to be displayed and also
stuff put on sale at its annual Christmas Bazaar.
By this time the Club Management was enhanced and strengthened by the
Parish Priest of Our Lady of Fatima Parish and his assistant, Rev.
Mothers and Sisters of The Daughters of the Cross, Principals and
teachers of Our Lady of Fatima's school, parents and well-wishers of the
community, including Sr. Elfreda, Sr. Helen, Dora D'Lima, Peter
Johannes, Gerry Monteiro, Michael Pascal, Linda Magalhaes, Ivan
Magalhaes, Marissa D'Souza, Christopher D'Souza...the list goes on.
The Dominic Savio Club encouraged its older members to freely tutor the
weaker and poorer children of Our Lady of Fatima's School every
afternoon. There were yearly retreats and annual picnics to the Friary
to watch the buffaloes, ponies and rabbits, or take long walks around
the Monastery of Angels. The children loved the trips to the Zoo, and
bus drives, all well supervised by the adults. And the older they got,
the more they learned of discipline, responsibility, delegation, and
even a touch of eloquence.
And what of the Dominic Savio Choir, you may ask? It was synonymous with
the name of Allan Goveas. He was a young man who learned to play the
mouth-organ and the drums by ear and tempo, but owed his guitar and
key-board expertise to the kind tutelage of Roland D'Souza. Not
surprising, he passed these talents on to his three sons, Ferdinand,
Gratiano and Giles, who not only play in Church for the services, but
also at informal gatherings, wedding banquets, five-star hotels, and
even on Pakistan's MTV channel for the Chicago concert, the Mama Mia
concert, and the like.
The choir took off on the wings of a song and a prayer, countless hours
of practice, and the addition of a drummer and a key-board player. It
started with the children of the Club and was known as The Dominic Savio
Choir, or 'The Children's Choir'. Allan collected the children and
patiently taught them the fundamentals; how to read the words, hum the
tunes, and then to sing together with each other and the accompanying
music, be it a single guitar, or a combo of guitar, drums and key-board.
The children learnt to sing in tune, and then to harmonize. They even
learnt to stand in front of the congregation and sing fearlessly. He
started a couple of all girl's bands named 'The Butterflies', 'The Noise
Makers; and Boys Band called The Fabs, taught many children who were
interested in playing the drums, guitar or key-board. Allan himself was
part of the first parish Band called 'The young ones" who use to play
during breaks at the Fatima 13th Tambola which use to be held twice a
week in the Parish. What is more, he is still doing the honours as
Director of the Choir and Club.
And the annual Pageants, the Passion Plays, the Christmas Story were all
the brain-sparks and tireless work of Allan Goveas. Who can forget the
time he had a live Christmas play in the grounds of the Misquita Gardens
Housing Societies, when the hapless donkey refused to move an inch with
Mary and the Child on its back? And the fear and consternation when the
camel nearly bit the hand that gently held it?
all, parents and children alike, owe these three young men and their
helpers a debt of gratitude that we can never repay. Suffice it to say
that I shall just ask our loving God to bless the two still living,
their spouses and children with endless Safety, Good Health and
Happiness, and the one who has sadly left us, George Furtado, a place in
his Kingdom for all eternity.
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