Saintly sounds

By Tahnee Hopman, Pic by M. D. Nissanka

The thirteen Saints refer to their habit of performing in October as something like an Oktoberfest. Contrary to the nuances of this festival, for this particular group of Saints, good times means the nostalgia and the pure enjoyment they get out of music and of singing.

Comprising members from Saints’ schools – St. Benedicts, St. Joseph’s, St. Peter’s, St. Mary’s, St. Thomas’, St. Sebastian’s and St. Anthony’s, The Saints now celebrate three successful years of choral music and bring to their audience, their third musical journey- Renaissance 3 to be held on October 31 at 7pm at the Lionel Wendt.

Expanding on their repertoire of semi classics, the third musical ‘Oktoberfest’ by the Saints is along the lines of its predecessors, and is once again set to underline the nature of their repertoire. While some numbers are performed in a similar style to their original versions, most others sung acapella and in four part harmony give well known and well loved music a slightly different and a typical “Saints” feel.

While they may be taking us a few years back where the music is concerned, the Saints have by no means sacrificed diversity in their upcoming performance.

Starting off with a signature favourite – “The Saints go Marching In,” the performance will range from Sinhalese favourites such as Tharudha Nidhana Maha Re by Visharada Nanda Malini, eighteenth century battle hymns, and ancient Latin music to Broadway, light jazz and pop favourites, Renaissance 3 will be a colourful combination of different genres of semi classical and classical music.

“One thing which I feel differentiates us from other groups,” reflects Bosco, “ is the fact that our music looks at possibility – the possibility of choral singing giving an ordinary song played on the radio or at a party a slightly different touch and making it more pleasant to listen to.” And performances with music that is easy on the ears- and as Bosco describes, a 100% audio experience, are exactly what The Saints specialize in. The Saints have been subject to a series of coincidences – from their name, right to the time of year during which they perform. “While the coincidences have worked in our favour, it also helps that we all have very similar tastes in music,” agree Bosco Fonseka and Suren Abeysekera – directors of the group.

While they have been successful, The Saints have had their share of challenges, especially at the beginning. “We started very small,” recalls Bosco, “and for all of us who were engaged in our careers, setting aside the time to practice and finding a suitable place to do so, was not easy at first, but love for the music helped us see these challenges through.”

Combining their love for this music with commitment, and a close knit, familial backdrop of give and take, The Saints also give emphasis to the presence of God in their lives, and every performance is not only a dedication but also consists of spiritual numbers. “For us, God always comes first,” affirms Suren, and I feel that this feeling transcends into our work and our performances as a whole.”

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