I am writing you on behalf of my students and myself to express our deepest appreciation for your wonderful contributions to our World Cultures class on May 19, 1997 on the music, culture and many moods of India. My students were captivated by your performances on sarod and tabla, and they felt they learned so much from you. Your questions enabled students to go inward and be reflective in ways that I’ve rarely seen since I started teaching back in 1967. Indeed, on your departure you left everyone wanting more. The following are direct quotes from students regarding your visit:
“I learned more about things that matter to me during that one class session with Christopher Ris than I have during three years of high school!”
“Please, please, please bring Christopher back again.”
“Christopher is one of the few people who helped me look at my real feelings, and he wasn’t even trying to deliberately do that.”
“I love that guy’s (Christopher’s) music. It’s the first time I ever heard tabla and sarod, and it really took me out.”
“It was so cool the way Christopher involved us and also weaved together music, history, culture and Eastern religions that made it alive for me.”
Ris’s music was absolutely beautiful!”
“It was a privilege to learn from Mr. Ris.”
“How soon can we get Mr. Ris back again?”
“I was surprised that I was so touched by his music and his presence.”
“What a fabulous way to learn!”
“I like how the sarod can be beautiful, sad, scary and mystifying. The music speaks.”
“That was the best way to learn!”
The above quotes were only a sample of the many positive statements from the students who attended your superb presentation. I, too, was inspired by your music and discussions with students. In fact, I am motivated to develop an entirely new unit and approach to our study of Asia. It will hopefully speak more to the students’ own lives in ways that you did. Christopher, I sincerely hope that many other schools will request your presence. You provide an invaluable educational experience, which reaches all ages. Again, we are so grateful for what you brought to us.
Jim Rice Social Studies Dept. Chairman, School Counselor
SAN ANDREAS HIGH SCHOOL
LARKSPUR, CA 94939
Dear Mr. Ris
It gives me great pleasure to put on record that your sarode recital in Sangeetik’s monthly program on 25th December 1983 was delightfully unexpected of a young musician from the West, being of a standard not easily attainable without deep involvement in Indian Music and inborn talent.
May you reach your goal and be a source of inspiration to many others.
Roby Guha Mozumdar Honorary General Secretary
Sangeetik Music Circle
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
I have known Christopher Ris since the mid 1970’s when as a young sarod player and vocalist he performed with the New Maihar Band, the Ali Akbar College orchestra. There were many collaborations and performances between this group and my Dance Company in those days. Later he began coming to accompany my kathak dance classes.
In 1980 he joined my troupe of twelve dancers on a tour of India and performed with some of the best dance accompanists in India. In 1984, when he was in India for a year with a scholarship he again performed with me many times. Since that time he has been working continuously with me; performing and helping me compose and record music for my solo programs and for dance dramas and group pieces. His performances with me also include a short sarod solo which usually opens the concert.
I would like to highly recommend him for the John Higgens Memorial Scholarship for he is one of a new generation of Indian musicians who is working very hard to reach a standard of excellence and to promote interest in Indian Culture.
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
I am writing to recommend my disciple Christopher Ris for the John Higgens Memorial Award. He has been a student at my College since 1971 and has always been very serious about learning and playing traditional Indian classical music in the proper way. He works very hard in his many travels to spread interest in our music around the world and to fulfill his aim to be respected in India as a Westerner playing Indian music. He is a deserving candidate for this award and I wish him well.
Maestro Ali Akbar Khan