When we consider the material used in a typical musical performance by any choir group, our mind instantly drifts to a list of cherished hits from a wide selection of classical musicals. However a new group of young choristers are breaking free of the conventional mould and are replacing the likes of Julie Andrews with contemporary artistes like Lady Gaga.
Selladore is a choir consisting of exuberant past and present students from Royal College, S. Thomas’ College, St. Peter’s College, Ladies’ College, Colombo International School and Colombo University, aged from thirteen to twenty three.
Directed by the pint-sized Anushkha Senanayake (20), Selladore is busy practicing for their maiden foray into the musical world, ‘The Unsung Theory’, a choral performance of several hits from artistes such as Coldplay, The Beatles, R. Kelly, Bob Marley, Lady Gaga and Avril Lavigne to name a few.
“At every choir concert you go to you just hear the same hacked classics being sung so I really wanted to do something different. It will probably bring in a younger crowd as well but that’s not to say adults won’t like it. My parents came to listen in and although they didn’t know some of the songs they really enjoyed it themselves,” Anushkha reveals.
Some of the songs were selected by Anushkha while the remaining were picked out through the joint agreement of the entire choir. Selladore will also be singing ‘Voices for Peace’ a musical creation of Choir Leader Natasha Senanayake (23).
“Natasha wrote the song a few years ago for her university application and we decided to use it because it gives the concert a Sri Lankan touch,” 20-year-old Selladore Co-Producer Irushi Tennekoon explains.
As practices went on into the night, the enthusiasm and talent flowing through the huge auditorium was palpable. The transplant of a number of pop hits into a chorale framework is done seamlessly, with Coldplay’s ‘Fix you’ sounding the most impressive.
“When I first met these guys I was shocked, everyone was 21, 23, just so much older than me, but gradually I’ve become good friends with everyone, they are all a great set of people,” a confident Senani Gunatilleke (12), the youngest member of Selladore from Colombo International School, says.
Similarly Chrisantha de Silva, at 25 the oldest in Selladore, says that he too was thrown in at the deep end.”
This is my first time singing in a choir. My experience singing only comes from my rock band, so I didn’t know what to expect when I came here. Thankfully the people here were very helpful and I’ve learned how to blend my voice in with other people’s voices.”
His fellow Royalist Viraga Perera (19) says the most important lesson he has learned from his experience with Selladore is how to adapt to singing in a choir featuring both boys and girls. ‘The Unsung Theories’ will be performed at the British School Auditorium on August 6 and 7 from 7pm onwards.
Tickets for the show are available at the British School Auditorium or can be obtained by contacting Anushkha through ‘The Unsung Theory’ event’s page on Facebook. All proceeds from the show will go to the charity, ‘Women in Need’.