Revelations concert ‘He is Christmas… Still’ touched the hearts of everyone!
Saturday, 21 December 2013 00:00
Reviewed by Lasanthi Fernando
What does one do when one’s venue is burnt to cinders a week prior to ones’ gala performance? That’s what ominously happened to the Revelations when the hall at the BMICH burnt down, right down to the ground. Yes there was a lot of heartache and heartburn as the host for the evening Kumar de Silva rightly pointed out.
But the Revs, ranked fourth among world choirs and twice gold medal winners, are made of sterner stuff. It galvanised them into action, to outperform themselves and do even better. And that’s what an appreciative audience experienced at the packed-to-capacity St. Joseph’s College auditorium on Sunday 8 December.
The evening began dramatically and with a bang with the Revelations doing ‘Gloria in Excelsis Deo’. It was arresting and set the stage for magic to follow. A quick change of mood and tempo and then came the traditional hits – ‘Winter Wonderland’ and ‘Jingle Bells’. They were given the Revelations special ‘magic touch’ and pervaded the auditorium with an infectious Christmassy feeling which lasted through the show.
This unfolded a wonderful evening, sonorous, inspiring and magical, as only the Revelations can do. The carols were for the young and the not-so-young, they were also for the old and the not-so-old. They were for everyone.
You could see the obvious amusement and tangible joy in the children in the audience as the little ones on stage wished ‘I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas’ along with ‘Santa Claus is coming to Town’ with Willie Godridge of the Revelations.
The audience was taken on an unforgettable and delicious journey of music and song, from a few traditional arrangements to a large number of non-traditional arrangements which the Revs excel in. ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’ and ‘White Christmas’ were sung with a refreshing twist. It was naughty and provocative and brought out the young in everyone, splashed with mischief and loaded with fun like never before.
The arrangement was precious! I do wish I had it recorded to listen to again and again. In fact the entire evening’s arrangements were so unique that they deserve to have been recorded and brought in audio CD format for the greater listening pleasure of the Revelations’ thousands of fans, both in Sri Lanka and overseas.
The special arrangement of a medley of Sinhala carols dedicated to the ensemble’s indefatigable manager Priyan de Livera was perhaps the most touching part of the whole evening to me. They brought the message of Christmas right into our hearts.
What struck me most through the evening were the very clever and unique arrangements performed to excellence by the Revelations. They excel and revel in acapella and are undoubtedly Sri Lanka’s finest acapella vocal ensemble. The distinctive timbres of their respective voices coupled with the acapella harmonisation were soul-uplifting and transported the audience into another realm of listening indulgence.
All this and more, the performances by the Platinum award winning Methodist College Choir and the members of the Revelations Academy, the traditional setting with its Christmas décor, tree, snow and twinkling lights enhanced the ambiance and helped bring out the spirit of Christmas with the Revelations! The obvious passion and joy with which Revelations sing was as contagious as always and this was certainly a wonderful prelude to the festive season.
Congratulations to Choral Director Sanjeev Jayaratnam and the Revelations on a brilliant performance. We’re waiting for Christmas 2014!