TV Times

The 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 Creator.

It 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,

Vijaya, 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.

La 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.

The 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.

The 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.

Mignonne, 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."

The 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.

It 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.

The 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."


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