For the past few months, Neluka Seneviratne’s home in Rajagiriya has been a flurry of activity each evening, as roughly 40 students from ages 8 to 27 busy themselves with tuning their violins, practising scales, choreography and perfecting their act for what they promise will be a unique performance.
Performing music from over three decades, the students of cousins Lakshmi Seneviratne and Neluka Seneviratne seem to revel in the experience of diverse genres of music; and despite the usual pressures and challenges of an upcoming concert, the group remains vivacious and energetic eagerly anticipating Entwined-the show which will take place on October 2 at 6pm at the Russian Cultural Centre.
“The feeling of being able to step up to challenge, is really exhilarating,” comments 27 year old Shohani Egodage. “There’s so much more intensity when you know that you’re practicing for a concert and so naturally, you put in more effort. I also love working with the younger members of the group- I am a teacher and its very interesting to be a student again, among students who are of the age group that I teach!”
Lakshmi and Neluka watch as the group performs a harmonious rendition of Karl Jenkins’ Adiemus.” Though we have been directing concerts on our own for many years now, this is the first time we are doing something together,” says Lakshmi.
“Last year,” adds Neluka, “we decided that it might be a good idea to casually put a few of our students together for a small house concert, but unfortunately, that wasn’t to be.”
What began as a simple idea of a house concert however, has now turned into something significantly larger. “The students were all extremely disappointed that the concert didn’t happen last year, and very enthusiastic about performing together,” recalls Neluka. “And having thought about it before, we couldn’t quite get the idea out of our minds!”
The concert will feature not only choral performances but piano and violin performances as well, and proceeds will go towards the donation of musical instruments to the School for the Deaf and Blind in Ratmalana. A group of students from the School for the Deaf and Blind will also perform, and the concert will feature a special performance by Laknath Seneviratne.
“All in all, the show is about many genres coming together, with many people coming together to perform them,” says Lakshmi. “In fact,” continues Neluka, “it took us a while to come up with a title for the show which would encompass everything about it.”
Despite the challenges involved in managing hectic schedules and bringing a large group together for practices, the two directors are constantly encouraged, watching some students who have never been on a stage before, come out of their shell and grow in confidence.