Shillong: The demise of Neil Nongkynrih, founder of the famous Shillong Chamber Choir (SCC), has left a numb feeling and numerous tributes for “Uncle Neil” (as he was fondly called by fans and family in Shillong) has started to pour in on social media.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said, “I am saddened beyond words by the sudden demise of Padma Shri Neil Nongkynrih, founder of the famous Shillong Chamber Choir. He was a mentor to the country’s finest choir that serenaded crowds wherever they performed. We have lost a gem today.”

“My deepest condolences to his family, his mentees of the Shillong Chamber Choir and his many fans across the country and the world. May his soul rest in eternal peace.”

Health Minister James Sangma on his social media page said, “I am shocked and deeply saddened on hearing of the passing away of Shri Neil Nongkynrih, music maestro & founder of the Shillong Chamber Choir.”

“Neil was widely acclaimed for his immense contribution to the field of music. His death is a big loss for our State. I extend my deepest sympathies to his family, loved ones & the SCC family. May his soul rest in peace.”

 Former Home Minister RG Lyngdoh also condoled the demise of Nongkynrih and said, “Just got the sad news that Neil Nongkynrih, the man behind the Shillong Chamber Choir, passed away. A huge loss to music. May he rest in peace and may God be with all the people close to him.”

Renowned journalist and editor of The Shillong Times Patricia Mukhim has on several occasions shared on social media of the close bond she and Nongkynrih had. In fact, Mukhim also posted a heartfelt message to Nongkynrih on January 20, 2021 which reads – “The best New Year’s gift one can give to a friend of many years who is now on a strict work-out regimen are vegetables grown organically with one’s hands and nurtured and cared for, for months..@Neil Nongkynrih thank you for friendship and time spent reminiscing about life from those days when you were a cute 10 year old with stubby little hands that glided over the piano keys like they were created for that very purpose..You have lived your dream and continue to nurture those dreams and the dreams of the Choir members whose mentor you have been for so many years..
Whispering Pines will always be a place where history is made and is in the making…
It’s my fervent prayer that the Shillong Chamber Choir will continue to make waves in the years to come by the grace of the Almighty.”

Devastated with the demise of Nongkynrih, Mukhim once again reposted the image with a message that said, “My dear friend no more..gone like the wind..will miss the deep conversations and happy moments at Whispering Pines..Devastated by this terrible news. Last year had gifted him these from my garden and he proudly posed with them..Neil how could you leave us so suddenly? 2022 you are a cruel year indeed..”

Shillong Chamber Choir (SCC) mourns Uncle Neil

Through a statement, the Shillong Chamber Choir expressed sorrow and announce the “death of our beloved founder and music director, Mr. Neil Nongkynrih”.

“Uncle Neil, as he was fondly known to all, passed away suddenly on Wednesday evening in Mumbai. He was 51.”

“Funeral details will be communicated later. Uncle Neil was the life force of our world, a towering personality whose music, through the choir he so fondly nurtured, reached the ears of Presidents, Prime Ministers, Ambassadors and some of the biggest names in the worlds of sports, culture, business, music and film.”

“Drawing from the music of his land and his own vast experience in the Western classical tradition, he gave classic Indian film music a new touch, with his deft arrangements bringing delight to millions of listeners in India.”

In 2010, he led his choir to win India’s Got Talent, catapulting the little Shillong unit to national and international stardom. In 2015, he was awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian award.

“The choir joins fans, friends and well-wishers around the world in mourning this tremendous loss.”

Shillong Chamber Choir founder, Padma Shri Neil Nongkynrih, dies

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