Mirror Magazine

Saintly arrangements
By Marisa de Silva
‘Shades of Sound’ brings together the voices of three of the most popular all-male choirs around. Organised by the Old Josephians Sports Club, The Peterite Chorale, The Old Joes Choir and Choro Benedicte jointly take the stage on June 19 and 20 at 7 p.m. at the Lionel Wendt Theatre. Each choir, or choral group, is known for their individual style and selection of music and they come together to present a rich blend of sounds and techniques. For music lovers, this spells an opportunity to enjoy a variety of music. At first each choir will perform individually. Then brace yourselves for the grand finale where all three choirs unite.

The Petes
The Peterite Chorale, under the direction of Stefan Corera, completed a decade together as a choral group last year. Renowned for their strong, powerful harmonies and diverse repertoire of music, the Chorale guarantees an entertaining performance.

“As it’s most often been school choirs that organise combined choir concerts, it’s unique that someone took the initiative to unite the old boy choirs of three schools to perform together,” says Sanjeev Dabare, choir leader of the Peterite Chorale.

Singing all time classics like the Platters’ ‘Great Pretender’ and ‘Only You’, ‘Bye Bye Blackbird’ and the Beatles’ popular hit ‘Ticket To Ride’, which are similar in era but different in style and rhythm, the selection aptly brings out the Chorale’s versatility. Their adaptability is further highlighted by their execution of spiritual numbers like ‘Bless This House’.

In keeping with ‘The Quadrangular’ Cricket Tournament, an annual tradition between the four Catholic Colleges (St. Anthony’s College being the fourth), this concert could become the next ‘Old Saints Triangular’, says Stefan. (St. Anthony’s is not involved in this concert as they don’t have an old boys’ choir as yet). As each choir has their own niche, it’s a new experience to work and learn from other choirs, he adds. “I hope that concerts like these will help encourage school leavers to join with their respective old boys’ choirs and keep the tradition alive,” says Stefan. The choir is accompanied by Yohan and Neomal de Alwis and Dilip Seneviratne.

The Joes
Directed by Deshan Cooray, The Old Joes Choir (OJC), have been around since 1997. Thus it’s comparatively the ‘baby’ of the three choirs; the other two having been together for a decade as a choral group. Having debuted at a concert titled ‘Preghiera’, they performed at many public performances thereafter. Their first commercial solo breakthrough ‘Evolution’, held in 2002, opened the doors to the music scenario for them. Performing music ranging from Mozart to The Beatles, to Queen right up to Elton John, the OJC likes experimenting with all types of music and rearranging original music scores to best suit them.

For this concert they hope to do a mixture of songs, composed by some of the classical as well as some of the contemporary greats. One of their specialities is the choral version of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, which displays the extensive vocal range of the choir. Accompanied by Kamalinie Samarakoon on piano and a chamber ensemble, the OJC seems to be a very comprehensive group.

“The songs we perform are mainly a reflection of the diverse musical tastes of the choristers,” says Deshan, adding that this is a great opportunity for these choirs to come and perform. He hopes that this will become an annual event. “The guys have worked really hard on this concert for the past two months and their enthusiasm and love for music is very encouraging,” says Deshan.

The Bens
Initially trained and fine-tuned by Lylie Godridge and now under the able baton of Francis D’Almeida, the Choro Benedicte has a superlative repertoire ranging from Latin Classics and spirituals, to folk and popular music. They started off in 1990, coinciding with the 125th Anniversary Celebration of their Alma Mater. The Choro Benedicte, accompanied by Ryanthi Kumarasingha, is now a 16-member compact musical posse.

Their selection for this concert consists of a blend of Latin, Ceylonese, folk and modern day numbers. Cantate Dominum requires a lot of vocal dexterity and precisions, particularly with regards to song entries, says Mr. D’Almeida. Their rendition of Sunil Shantha’s ‘Piyakaru Nuwara Wewa’ is rather different.

“Our other song ‘My Immortal’ is a selection by the younger members of our choir.” It’s more of a pop song that demands a totally different style and voice projection, he adds.

Together for the first time
The combined choirs will start off with Wagner’s Majestic ‘Pilgrims Chorus’, going straight into the melodious Italian song ‘La Montanara’ in beautiful harmony. More numbers like ‘Climb Every Mountain’ and ‘I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing’ will follow suit, each sung in their individual arrangement and different style.

The 1995 Rugby World Cup theme song ‘The World In Union’, which will be the grand finale, is bound to be a highlight of the show. This four-part harmony music arrangement, with about 80 voices singing lustily will ring through the Wendt ending the evening on a soul searching note. The concert is sponsored by Brandix and the media sponsors are The Sunday Times and ABC Radio Network. Tickets are available at the Wendt.


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