To watch the 90 students of the Cantabilé School of Singing at practice is to understand why their upcoming concert is named Sparkle- In a Singing Style.
A lively rendition of a medley by Queen, coupled with some energetic dance moves, was the scene at play when The Sunday Times met up with this diverse group of singers. The talent was obvious; the enjoyment and fun almost tangible, with each singer being given a chance to exhibit; to sparkle.
The second concert by the Cantabilé singers, Sparkle- In a Singing Style follows the success of Beat It- In a Singing Style and will take the stage of the Lionel Wendt on August 14 at 7 p.m. It is directed by Prashalini Peiris and produced by Mahen Peiris.
Established in 2004, Cantabilé began with a mere five students to its name. “It was a little
difficult at the beginning,” reminisces Director Prashalini Peiris. “ Before starting out on my own I was working as Musical Director at Colombo International School the biggest challenge in starting up the school was in making a name for myself; but the feeling of knowing that I am my own boss is worth all the challenges.”
And the challenges have definitely been overcome, with Cantabilé growing from five to
approximately hundred students in six years.
“Training such a large group has been a very interesting learning experience for me,” reflects Prashalini who has to take on different methods and approaches to teaching best suited to her students whose ages range from five to 50 years. “What is important is to build strong relationships with the students and to understand what kind of music they like, which genres best suit their capabilities and to teach them in a way that does not leave them bored or pressured with too much work.”
The show which will feature a diverse range of genres- classics, jazz, pop, Disney and
Broadway favourites to name a few- does just this. The group of singers collectively agrees that coming together for rehearsals helps them de-stress and forget the pressures of schoolwork, exams and hectic work schedules.
“The objective,” explains Prashalini, “is for these singers to learn the technicalities of choral singing, inspire them to be confident in performing, and most importantly to enjoy themselves while doing a good job.”
Ashan Jayatilaka (24) describes the experience as “a nice way of connecting to and learning from others who share your passion for singing. And the process of preparation for a public show (for some of us it s our first time on stage) is a very exciting one.”
Shamara Fernando (24) adds to this. “The best part of being in a production like this,” she
says, “is to learn to work as a team. It really helps to develop personality and I feel that I have grown a great deal by singing with Cantabilé.”
The Cantabilé singers will be joined by Asteria- the Past Pupils’ Choir of Methodist College. Formed in February this year, Asteria is trained and directed by Mahen Peiris.
The choir has entered the All Island Choir Competition organized by the Institute of Western Music and Speech and have qualified as one of the finalists in the open category the finals of which will be worked off in September at the BMICH. Choreography will be handled by Ashanthi Colombage, Crisha Panchal and Azira Esufally.
The Sunday Times and The Daily Mirror are Print Media Sponsors of the show, and MTV Channel 1 its Electronic Media Sponsor. Tickets for the show priced at Rs. 1500, 1000, 750, 500 and 350 are available at the Lionel Wendt.