Rocking for a cause

It’s all about the kids. Local rockers Wagon Park are getting together with a group of musicians to stage ‘Songs for the Children.’ They promise that the concert will be “a night of good old Rock ‘n Roll” and that the proceeds will be directed to the Sevena pre-school, a non-profit organization in Moratuwa established in 2002. The school, which draws roughly 21 pupils from across the Moratuwa coastal belt is desperately in need of funds, say these good Samaritans.

This week, lead guitarist Milinda Batuwanthudawe and band manager Sumedha Nuwan tell Mirror Magazine what inspired them to get involved.

Q: Tell us about Wagon Park  We can’t give an exact definition to the term ‘Wagon Park’ other than ‘that’s where all the wagons do the parking’, but we can certainly say that the message of Wagon Park stands for the Freedom of Expression through Music. It’s not something that you find in your day-to-day life or get to hear on the main stream media. We’re ordinary human beings from the regular society who use music as a way of expressing our honest feelings and experiences. 

We simply play Music, undefined, uncategorized, or and not targeted at any specific area of life.  We play music according to our honest feelings, and we play it to the people who can understand, appreciate, and take something good out of what we play. Of course, that’s something that our honest fans already know about! 

 What made Wagon Park decide to play this concert in aid of a tsunami affected school? How did you select this school?  

 The first ever gig that Wagon Park organized after its formation in 2007 was a charity event in aid of a surgery, which was made possible by a number of dedicated individuals and upcoming musicians of the local industry who supported immensely to make it a success.

After a journey of couple years or so, the boys of Wagon Park thought of giving a helping hand once again for a cause as worthy as their previous one, and the following members of the band from Moratuwa (Buddhi, Mahesh, and Chikka) found the opportunity to help a pre-school for the Tsunami affected and other under-privileged children that was in search of aid to carry on its duties. We as musicians feel honoured to spot this opportunity to give a helping hand for the young ones of our generations who definitely need proper education for a brighter future. 

 Q: Could you tell us about the children who will benefit?  

These children are from the coastal belt area from Moratuwa - Panadura, which was affected by the Tsunami in 2004. For the first few years, the pre-school was funded and the children were served with proper education, material, and accommodation. Currently, some families in the area who have suffered from the Tsunami and aftermath are seeking support from the local community for the education of their children. As a non-profit organization, Sevena still carries on its duties without any funding what so ever, and that’s where we, Wagon Park as a band, originating from the same town, come in as a helping hand to these children - and we hope to  give them as much support as possible. 

Q: Who can we expect to see sharing the stage with Wagon Park?

  Expect to see a wide range of musicians from the local industry, both professional and upcoming. They all will be sharing the stage for one worthy cause. Genres will vary from Classic Rock, Country, Folk and Fusion. (Artistes that will be featured alongside Wagon Park include Buddhika Rodrigo, Priyan Sandakelum Perera, Indrachapa Liyanage, Ranil Gunewardena (Hollow Point Halo), Sarani Perera (Thriloka) Mirshad Buckman (Paranoid Earthling), Natalie Soysa, Thushara Kulatunga (Karmic Sulphur), Mihindu Ariyaratne (Nemesis), Colors (Acapella Group) and Dinith Akmeemana.)  

More details are available on our Facebook Page, and the Facebook event page for Songs for the Children. 

 Over 5 years after a tsunami hit Sri Lanka, we’re still recovering. How do you think we can speed up that process? Should more young people get involved? 

 It is really sad that we as a country, even over 5 years after the disaster, are still recovering as individuals, families, and communities. While we have received a lot of aid from around the world, so much remains to be done by the people of our country as well. We as humble musicians hope to see that everybody, young and old, unites as one to build a strong future for the children of this and the next generation. ‘Songs for the Children’ is Wagon Park’s small contribution towards this aim.

‘Songs for Children’ is on February 19th at the Bishop’s College Auditorium from 6.30pm onwards. It is organized in collaboration with Blueprint Solutions. Priced at 500/- tickets are available at www.ticketslk.com

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