Salute that was Grand
It was a full house. The third bell rang. The curtain was still
closed when the elite lasses of the Channa Wijewardena troupe performed
with expression to a dynamic and vibrant song of adoration to the
was the "Grand Salute" on August 6 at the BMICH - a well
deserved musical tribute to veteran broadcaster and showbiz personality,
Vijaya Corea, who on several occasions drew spontaneous rounds of
applause from the audience. As it transpired from the accolades
that emerged from the heart of each performing artiste,
who had been responsible for the birth of many of their careers
and been pragmatically supportive of them at all times, was there
to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his life spent before a microphone.
Bambas were the first to sing and began with a song with heartwarming
lyrics about Vijaya, especially composed for the occasion. From
there onwards, the show took off to provide the audience with an
unprecedented variety of music forms comprising both Western and
Eastern in a happy blend from the crème de la crème
of the musical talent of this country. The old time music of Harold
Seneviratne merged beautifully into the modern sounds to which Dance
World and El Latino moved elegantly.
music of George Benson and the Eagles portrayed by Rukshan Perera
was in sharp contrast to the aesthetic _expression of percussion
with the use of many drums in the "Drum Talk" that was
presented by Nesan Thiagarajan. The audience was treated to a fabulous
and unforgettable musical menu.
surprise appearance by the renowned Nimal Mendis from the UK who
played keyboard and sang his own composition "Master Sir"
to the accompaniment of the Gypsies who, incidentally, backed all
the artistes with aplomb, drew a waves of applause.
Dalreen, Noeline, Mariazelle, Sohan, Dharmaratne Bothers, Susil,
Paul, Rajiv, Ronnie, Annesley and Indrani comprised the star studded
galaxy of entertainers while Desmond de Silva, who had come all
the way from London exclusively to perform at the show, proved yet
again that he is "Entertainer Extraordinary."
climax to the show was, of course, the great performance by Sunil
and the Gypsies with their topical lyrics and rhythmic melodies
which evoked both laughter and musical satisfaction.
was indeed moving to hear Vijaya Corea when he came on stage to
thank everybody, especially when he offered thanks to God for touching
his life and later, as he declared, healing him through the power
of the Lord Jesus Christ. "My forty years might well have been
just twenty but for the miracle of love that healed me from a deadly
cancer without any medication" he said.
evening was unusual. It was replete with inspiration and excellent
entertainment which provided for both edification and relaxation.
Vijaya Corea distinctly emerged as one who had given of himself
for the welfare of humanity. Deservedly, it was a "Grand Salute."