- Charity concert featuring St. Cecilia’s Choir of St. Joseph’s College
The much-acclaimed Josephian Choir bearing the flamboyant title ‘St. Cecilia’s Choir of St. Joseph’s College’ will perform at the Lionel Wendt on Sunday 4 November from 7 p.m. onwards, in aid of the medical needs of HIV positive children. This is their second choral event in aid of children needing medical care, this year.
‘Symphony for a Child’ is the brainchild of Srima Jayasekera, an accomplished pianist and an excellent teacher who spent much of her life in London. She was also driven by a burning passion to help children with medical needs, back in Sri Lanka. Thus, the yearly concert featuring the best in the western music tradition, was put together as a much awaited event at the Regent Hall in Central London. With funds so raised, she was able to maintain two children’s wards and a play area at the IDH Hospital Angoda.
In recognition of her work in aid of the needy children in Sri Lanka, Jayasekera was honoured by his Royal Highness Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall at a reception at St. James’s Palace, London.
She did not stop at that but went on to help rural youth in pursuit of excellence in its full gamut going from primary education even up to a Ph.D She as always, epitomises the human craving for compassion by demonstrating how far a single person can go to make this world a better place.
Thus, “Aunty Srima”, which is how the 86-year-old musician is popularly known, has combined her dual driving forces – passion for music and compassion for those suffering – and has come forward to present her famous annual charity concerts in Sri Lanka since her return to the island a few years ago.
This year through a measure of fortuitous circumstances she, in partnership with the Sri Lankan AIDS Foundation, has obtained the involvement of the Josephian choir, locally and internationally known as St. Cecilia’s Choir of St. Joseph’s College, Colombo. They will be the main performers in this year’s concert which will also include a few other renowned musicians and dancers.
The Josephians are well known for their celestial performances in Sri Lanka, Rome, Jerusalem and Bethlehem. They possess a great variety of styles and language skills culled from the ancient to the modern.
The envisaged concert will commence with their rendition of the National Anthem in splendid four part harmony followed by Va Pensiero [Verdi] which is also known as The Slaves Chorus sung in Italian. Continuing will be Handel’s For Unto Us which is an exciting and demanding composition. Then comes a poignant, modern Latin piece Stabat Mater.
Daniel Vaz, a 16-year-old soprano with the honour of winning a prestigious scholarship to the UK at the conclusion of an island-wide competition conducted this year by the British Federation for Performing Arts (Sri Lankan Section), will sing the rousing Climb Every Mountain from the musical ‘Sound of Music’. This segment will end with a stirring African chorus Baba Jetu.
In the post interval segment the Josephian singers will present the popular ‘ABBA Medley’ with the fine elegance it demands. Geeyakin Messe will come next followed by the Tamil oldie Pathu Pada Va. Moving on to the dance segment they will present ‘Somewhere My Love’ and ‘Falling in Love’. Next comes a solo version of the Sinhala pop song Chandrayawan, backed by the tenors and basses. The concert will conclude with the excellent version of the sadly sweet Italian song ‘Time to Say Goodbye’.
The concert is so arranged as to include the Choral Spectrum, Ravibandu Vidhyapathi Dancers, Amithya Liyanage, Rushanie Fernando, Darshana Amerasinghe, Manoj Wijeyawardene, Antonette Wheelan, Lakmal Nanayakkara and soprano Ridmavi Anthony, all performing multiple forms of artistic expressions. Also await the piano and violin performances of young Yevan Athurupanda.
This noteworthy event is sponsored by the Sri Lanka AIDS Foundation to help children affected by AIDS, and is presented under the guidance of Sirima Jayasekera, a legend in her own right.