Brief History of COBCA
COBCA was founded in 1988 in Columbus and received IRA Tax Exempt Status in 1998 after being officially registered as COBCA with the Ohio Secretary of State’s office. From the handful of members, the group has grown significantly in past years. Every year the group organizes & celebrates several social & cultural events that include Festival of Knowledge (Saraswati Puja), Picnic, Fall Festival (Durga Puja & Bijaya), and New Year. Each year the participation had increased and we celebrated our roots with greater and greater vigor and enthusiasm. In these social cultural events our members (adults and their children) worked in perfect harmony as a community and produced several astonishing performances of music (vocal & instrumental), dance, musical & theatrical plays or dramas, skits, and recitations. These events served as a platform to promote the cultural awareness through participation thereby enriching the community life by promoting diversity. Our young dancers and musicians now routinely perform in the Columbus Symphony Cadet Orchestra, United Nations festivals, Martin Luther King birthday celebrations, community organizations, different schools, other states and even outside the United States. Every year COBCA had also actively participated in “India Day” celebration organized by Federation of Indian Association (FIA), which serves as an umbrella to all organizations of Asian-Indian origin of Central Ohio. COBCA also organized several cultural events performed by internationally acclaimed artists from India. Some of the highlights of these programs include Sitar Maestro Pandit Ravishankar’s niece world renowned folk and contemporary dancer Mamata Shankar accepted our invitation and performed (with her 15 member ballet troupe from India) in Capitol Theatre, Columbus. The show was endorsed by Ohio Arts Council and was covered in several newspapers and other media’s (Radio & TV). She also received recognition from the State of Ohio, Governor and Key to Columbus from the City of Columbus, Mayor Office.
On August 2nd, 2003, COBCA presented, first time ever in Columbus, an exquisite evening of grand illusion by world famous magician, P. C. Sorcar – Junior (with his 30 member troupe) in Southern Theatre. Mr. Sorcar is the eighth generation in his family performing this highest type of illusion successfully, and the only Indian winner of “MERLIN AWARD”, the greatest award for the magician’s world. People from all ethnicity, far and near to Columbus enjoyed the show illusion jovially.
Even the representatives from Honorable Governor of Ohio and Honorable Mayor of Columbus got on the stage and extended their warmest greetings to Magician Sorcar and honored him.
On June 23rd, 2007, the famous Bollywood singer Abhijeet mesmerized the audiences with his captivating performance. The program was highly appreciated by the local Indian community at Columbus.
COBCA organized the Annual ‘Bangamela’ at Columbus, on July 18th – 20th, 2008. The word “Bangamela” literally means a temporary assemblage of Bengalis and their show of culture in the form of a fair. The event promoted multicultural enrichment in the mid-America region through participation in this diversified cultural event. More than 200 plus local and international artists performed in the festival. The performances include dance, drama, recitals, music, vocals, forums and many more and was attended by over 1800 registrants from all over US. The mega event was supported by Ohio Arts Council, Great Columbus Arts Council, and Columbus Foundation.
During the period 2009-2013, COBCA routinely organized Annual Cultural event with musical performance from winners of reality shows like “Indian Idol”, “Sa Re Ga Ma Pa” and “K for Kishore” and Bollywood playback singers. The epitome was performance by Bollywood melody queen – Shreya Ghoshal on June 26th, 2010 which was attended by nearly 1600 people. Governor Ted Strickland issued a proclamation declaring June 26th, 2010 as Shreya Ghoshal Day. In a memorable concert at the Palace Theater in Columbus, the proclamation and the seal of the State of Ohio was awarded to Shreya by the First Lady Frances Strickland.
A two day multicultural theater festival was organized in Sept 12th -13th , 2014 with performances from five different theater groups from India, NJ and Columbus. A mesmerizing play “Atma Katha – A life of a common man, a story which is “Nothing like Lear” was performed by internationally acclaimed Indian Actor – Vinay Pathak.
A two day multicultural event “Ohio Utsab” was organized by COBCA with support from other similar organizations from Cleveland and Cincinnati on July 23rd – 24th, 2017 with much grandeur. The Ohio Utsab was first of its cultural fair and was participated by well-known international as well as local artists.
Bollywood melody queen Kavita Krishnamurthy gave mesmerizing performance on July 15th, 2018 at Davidson Theatre. The program was enjoyed by over 650 attendees.
“A Magical Musical Journey” for the benefit of Special Olympics, Ohio was presented by COBCA on September 15th, 2018 at Weigel Hall, OSU. Arnab Chakraborty (of Wada Raha fame and winner of K for Kishore with Shirsha took us on a beautiful musical journey with evergreen music of Rafi, Mukesh, Kishore, Hemant Kumar, Lata, Asha, S.D., R. D. and the brilliance of current musical geniuses like A.R. Rehman, Shankar-Ehsan-Loy, Pritam, Arijit Singh, Shreya, Sunidhi’s as COBCA celebrated The Legends of Indian Film Music.
Through COBCA’s initiative, Columbus has earned the unique distinction of being the only city in the mid-west where the finest performing artists from India have agreed to perform every year for the last twelve years. Artists love to perform in this friendly city because they know Columbus residents of all nationalities appreciate art and culture. It would not be an exaggeration to acknowledge the fact that COBCA has played a significant role in making Columbus a diversified cultural center in USA. In fact, COBCA is the recipient of “Nominee for 1998 Governor’s award for Art” by the Ohio Arts Council. The Ohio Arts Council and Governor’s multicultural office have always supported COBCA’s effort in this regard by way of financial grants.