Classy classics

By Madhushala Senaratne, Pic by Berty Mendis

Music is life for most of us. We've grown up listening to music and talking music. Be it pop, rock, jazz, heavy metal or techno, music is more than simple entertainment.

Sadly, when it comes to classical music – that is learning about and listening to the likes of Bach, Beethoven and Mozart – there is less interest in the subject especially among students. "But classical music is fun", says the members of the classical music association of St. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia, and that, among other things, is what they hope to prove through the Inter School Music Quiz.
Held every two years, the inter school music quiz has proved to be a knowledge generating and entertaining event. This year's quiz promises to be bigger and better, with the organising committee warning participants to expect tough competition.

In comparison to the usual 10–15 schools who participate, around 30 schools have been invited this year. The committee was quick to point out that this quiz is not merely about winning or answering the questions. Rather, it is more about learning about classical music, broadening the students' outlook and above all, promoting interest in classical music among students at STC and other schools.

Committee chairman, Dylan John (17) said that the aim of the music quiz is to encourage more people to participate and promote Western classical music as an alternative course of subject. "Music has always been a part of our lives." He said, referring to himself and other members of the committee who play instruments and are extremely interested in classical music.

"Not many teenagers are involved in classical music. But we believe that classical music is fun and we want others, especially students to experience that", continued Dylan, adding that such events would promote interest and encourage students to get involved in classical music, helping them broaden their association.

Vice chairperson Shawn Abeynaike (17) referred to it as the 'whole package', saying that participants would be rewarded well as there were great prizes on offer for the winners. He added that students studying for their O/Ls would gain immensely from this quiz as it would help with their revision and provide a better and improved understanding of the subject as a whole.

The quiz has been prepared by the students themselves and they stated that the amount of research involved in finding the questions proved to be fun and informative although a lot of hard work. It will feature four rounds – a listening round, an individual round, a multiple-choice questions round and a round with all the team members' participation. Teams will consist of four members each.

Over the years, the classical music association of St. Thomas' College has strived to foster classical music among students. Events such as the inter house singing competition, music quizzes and music productions are held regularly, encouraging students to participate.

The association was revived in 1983 and Ms. R. M. C. Abeynaike, the present teacher-in-charge, believes it has been a stepping stone for budding musicians. She stated that the members of the group Revelations are the pioneer members of this association, adding that the quiz master is Charith Peris, a member of the group.

Describing the quiz as 'interesting and challenging', she said that there are few such quizzes in Sri Lanka where all the aspects of classical music will be dealt with, in questions ranging from the ancient times to contemporary music.

She commended the "dynamic" members of the committee for their dedication and hard work, without which this would not have been possible. For anyone wishing to participate, or merely watch, the committee has this to say – "All the best. It's certainly worthwhile."

The Inter School Music Quiz will be held on September 17 at the College Hall, from 2:30pm onwards.
The main sponsor for the event is Yamaha Music Center, and the co-sponsor is Brighton International. The print media sponsor will be The Sunday Times.

For more information on the event contact Shawn on 0777661892.

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