The thrill of Christmas on stage

By Tahnee Hopman

Christmas is, as the song goes, for ‘kids from one to ninety-two; and as the year draws to its end, Jith Peiris experiences the familiar nostalgia and anticipation associated with the Christmas frame of mind.
In his long career, as far as he can remember, Jith has put his own brand of magic into good use in bringing the nostalgia and thrill of Christmas on to the stage with a Christmas production almost every year. This year is no different.

In this year’s edition of Silver Bells which will take the stage of the Lionel Wendt on December 11 however, there is an added touch of sentimentality for Jith; and for some of the performers in the show, this being its 10th Anniversary.

“Things were very different then,” he recalls, as he describes the first ‘Silver Bells’. “Apart from carol services there were far less Christmas productions being presented and it was something of a novel idea. But the essence of Silver Bells remains unchanged- it gets people in touch with the more emotional side of Christmas- from the joy at the birth of the Saviour to the merriment of the celebrations.”

For Jith, this is what it is all about- taking a step away from the frenzy of spring cleaning, baking and last-minute Christmas shopping and reveling in all that is special about the season.

This year’s performance will feature several well known names- the Revelations, Soul Sounds and the Menaka Singers, young artistes Trudy Herft and Dmitri Gunatilake and two Latino dance numbers among others.

The audience of Colombo will remember the well known touches to the show added by Jith over the years- from the little girls who will sing ‘White Christmas’ and ‘Away in a Manger’, down to the innovative Santa hat ticket. Also, as always, proceeds from the performance will be donated to charity.” “That is what makes it really special- it underlines the meaning of Christmas- to celebrate while helping those in need.”

Nostalgia sets in once again as Jith remembers some of the young singers who have now grown up with the show. “I’ve always felt that songs like ‘White Christmas’ and ‘Away in a Manger’ are especially suitable for children, and when some of the soloists from the earlier shows meet me now they still have great memories of the show.”

The Print Media Sponsors for ‘Silver Bells’ include The Sunday Times and The Daily Mirror. Tickets for the show are priced at Rs. 1500, 1000, 850, 750 and 550 will be available at the Lionel Wendt from December 1.

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