Mirror Magazine

A great feat
By Marisa de Silva
August 5 marked the debut performance of 24 young talented singers, aged 12-19 at the Bishop’s College Auditorium… and wow, what a debut it was! The Colombo Catholic Youth Choir (CCYC), under the able direction of Surein De S. Wijeyeratne and Daniel Johnpillai, made their international debut at the Pueri Contores Choir Festival in Cologne, Germany last year. They also got two of their songs selected to feature on a CD that was marketed internationally. Being one of two choirs that were selected out of hundreds of choirs, this was quite a feat for the choir.

Thus, naturally, expectations were high and the CCYC didn’t by any means fall short of it, and delivered the goods as promised!

One aspect well worth commendation was the well thought out selection of songs. The tri-lingual line-up (or ‘quad-lingual’ actually, because there was one German song as well) was just the right length to hold the audience’s attention, and popular enough to keep their toes tapping! The unique music arrangements and ‘rocking’ accompanists were more than praiseworthy. A particular mention must be made of one of the lead guitarists, Malik Seneviratne, whose playing was simply out of this world! He gave the concept of ‘jamming’ a whole new meaning.

The choir itself though, could quite easily be categorised as being pure ‘music to the ears.’ My personal favourite was the all-male, a cappella version of Billy Joel’s hit, “For The Longest Time”. From the first note onward, these young guys were in complete control. Joined on stage by both the choirs’ directors, the gifted musical maestro16-year-old Daniel and the multi-talented Surein, with just snapping fingers to guide them, they flowed through the catchy tune with the greatest of ease, not straying off-pitch even once! That’s quite a feat for even a well-established, experienced choir to carry out, let alone a choir making its debut. Even Joel would have been proud with the younger Johnpillai, Dominic’s rendition of his single. Sung with a lot of soul and passion, Dominic’s youthful clear voice completed the picture.

Yet another fabulous (in a somewhat ‘eerie’ way) arrangement by Daniel was that of “Eleanor Rigby” from the Beatles Medley, sung with a lot of depth and feeling by Tahanee Aluwihare. The song which speaks of loneliness and how people don’t show their true feelings to the world, was conveyed so effectively via the dim lighting, voice modulation, melancholy ‘pums’ being sung in the background and Tahanee’s strong voice, cutting through the music; bringing us face-to-face with reality.

“Sri Lanka Rani Maniye” arranged by both Daniel and the talented keyboardist, Sanjeev Dabare and “Endhen Naavil” arranged by Daniel, were both sung by the choir, in perfect harmony. The girls in particular (sopranos and altos) blended together well and successfully maintained a perfect balance through out. However, I felt the male voices could have been a little stronger, and sustained a better balance between the two parts.

The harmonies set, were quite unusual, as in the spiritual number “I Give You My Heart” also re-arranged by Daniel, which was executed by the choir with precision and clarity. The beauty of the whole piece was summed up via the final chord of the hymn, which was also a perfect example of the choir’s versatility. Toto’s “Africa” (re-arranged by Daniel) and “Under The Boardwalk” by the Drifters too displayed the diversity of the choir’s repertoire, and the wide range of music they are capable of performing.

One of the most promising new choirs I’ve seen in a long time, CCYC seems well on its way to stardom! After over four months of time and effort spent, their hard work really paid off! A big thumbs up to them.
Anyone interested in joining the group could contact Daniel on daniel@wow.lk


Copyright © 2001 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd. All rights reserved.