A gloriously memorable night!
|A gloriously memorable night! |
DOUG JONES looks back on Victoria OBU’s Silver Anniversary
It was a Sterling Silver occasion and as rare as they come. The Victorian branch of St Benedict’s College OBU was celebrating a unique 25th birthday. Unique because this branch is the first alumni association ever to be born overseas. Figuratively, the first root (now deeply entrenched) of the beloved Banyan tree to seek pastures anew, far away across oceans to germinate in a vast land down under called Australia. Other roots have since found fertile abode in Sydney (Australia), Canada (both British Colombia and Toronto), London, New York, Paris and Dubai.
And nothing but the best was warranted for the celebration with a grand Dinner Dance. Because that fastidious Lady we like to call the ‘Benedictine Way’ would put up with nothing less. It was a colossal night. A night that will be remembered for many, many years to come.
Old Bens like (none other than the General Secretary of the Colombo OBU himself) Ravi and his wife Dilani Irugalbandara jetted in from Sri Lanka; Dr Cyril Ernest and his wife from the USA and a couple of dozen Sydney Bens and their spouses from NSW were among guests. There was a total of 140 Old Bens, I was made to understand, present on the night – the dream of President Frank Pereira – marking the youthful vintage of our beloved College. Delightfully, my wife Hyacinth and I were among all these wonderful people.
The atmosphere, I tell you, was electric. It was the kind of night that fairy tales are made of. In a historic first, the entire event, in all its electrifying resonance, was globally IPcast live from Moorabbin’s Kingston City Hall. Every Old Ben anywhere in the world with access to the internet had a ringside view of proceedings. The brainchild of and due to the tireless planning by OBU Secretary Glen Joseph, the IPcast enabled the Green White and Green college flag, for the first time ever, to be seen flying proudly by Benedictines in such far-away places like Finland and similarly, in Benedictine homes scattered all over the planet.
And the music, that was something else. No surprise, the Gypsies are regarded as the best Sri Lankan band doing the traps these days. Sunil and his troupe proved their versatility with renditions of western dance music mixed with segments of some baila and the classical Sinhala favourites that the Gypsies are famous for, including their trademark Pitti Kotapan None, my favourite by a long shot.
The sumptuous dinner! The Zodiacs led by well-known Melbourne caterer, Victor Silva and his wife Lorraine, set new standards for feeding multitudes (numbering just a smidgin short of a gigantic 750 people that night). If, like Oliver Twist, we had asked for more, there was plenty to go round.
To my mind, and I repeat, this colossal event had success written all over it. That can happen with only single-minded dedication by devout Old Bens Doing the duty that is to do, Bearing the Cross with a crown in view.
It would be remiss of me if I did not mention the entire committee led by Frank Pereira and his wife Therese, as well as Glen & Rochelle Joseph who wove the magic wand to make the fairy story possible.
To our dear Victorian family of Benedictines, Old Bens from all over planet Earth, we salute you for a wonderful achievement and a glorious night!
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