University of the Day
|The Benedictine Choir History in brief|
The history of the Benedictine choir dates back to the early 1900. It was in the midst of the 1st world war that Mr. Bonnie Fonseka, distinguished old Benedictine, had a vision, which soon became a valued Benedictine tradition in forming a musical club. This prompted the birth of the first college choir. There were over 50 choristers ranging from sweet voice little sopranos to high tenors and big bass singers. The choir acquired a reputation for top class singing, and in addition often invited to perform at important national events and even got an opportunity to perform with other schools when Princess Elizabeth visited Ceylon in 1952. It is with pride we record that the conductor of this combined choir was none other than Mr. Bonnie Fonseka.
Soon after Mr. Bonnie Fonseka’s retirement, the choir came to a virtual standstill due to the non-availability of an experienced and dedicated trainer. It was then that one of Mr. Fonseka’s choristers Mr. Robert Joseph took up the challenge and the uphill task of training the choir. Following in his footsteps Rev. Bro. Augustine and Mr. Johnpulle joined in keeping the choir going until the revival took place with the arrival of Mr. Ravien George in 1996.
Since then the choir has reached the height of success as being cited as a brilliant classical choir. The choir maintains a tradition of having an annual Easter service and Christmas carol service. The choir won the all island singing competition in the year 1999 and was named the islands best choir in the open category for boys. The judges were thrilled to listen to the rendering of “Worthy is the Lamb” which is the last chorus of the greatest oratorio in the world, written by G.F. Handle “The Messiah”. The Benedictine choir also sang the second part of this chorus, the “Amen”. This was the first time a school choir in Sri Lanka attempted it successfully. Since then they have attempted all popular choruses from the “Messiah” very successfully.
After the retirement of Mr. Ravien George, it was an enormous task to maintain the high quality of singing, and continue the valued traditions that was built throughout the years. It was then that two past Choir Leaders, Mr. Krishan Rodrigo, and Mr. Naresh Sathasivam, who were trained under Mr. Ravien George, decided to undertake the responsibility of training and directing the choir. Since then the image of the choir changed from a choir that performed only classical music to a choir that performed all types of music.
The Benedictine Choir in recent times is attempting choruses from “Carmina Burana” which is a composition of Carl Orff. Some of these choruses will be the first time a school choir has ever attempted in Sri Lanka. They also show an interest towards Pop, R&B, hip-hop, reggae, contemporary, Gospel and music from the 70s and 80s.
The Benedictine choir has produced singers, conductors, accompanists and musicians throughout the years and will continue to do so by reaching different heights in choral music.
Weeranarayana Mudalige John Bernard Fonseka, more familiarly known as ‘Bonnie’ Fonseka, was born on 19thSeptember 1896. Born to Andrew and Eugene Fonseka of Mutwal, he was the youngest of a family of 2 boys and a girl. Together with his brother Nichol, he had his entire school career at St.Benedict’s College. He was offered a teaching appointment on completion of his school career and after further qualification at the London Chamber of Commerce exams, was put in charge of the Commercial Classes of St.Benedict’s where he continued teaching for over 41 years. His assistants over the year included M/S.J.P. Perera and Gajanayake. Many renowned personalities had their early exposure to the world of commerce at the Commercial Section of St.Benedict’s and Bonnie is still remembered fondly by many as a kind hearted, able teacher.
During the 1st World war period, he was a volunteer in the Ceylon Light Infantry, together with other SBC teachers of the time such as Joachim Mendis, George Atkinson, and Victor Silva. Afterwards, he was involved in school cadetting before getting actively involved in the music scene of St.Benedict’s. it appears that there always was an interest in music at SBC and in fact there had been an orchestra comprising of teacher and students past and present. This orchestra performed at school functions such as prize giving’s, sports meet and felicitation to visiting dignitaries. I believe Rev. Bro. Hugh Ferrington (an Englishman) was the conductor. Bonnie played the violin, piano, and double bass. The regular pianist of the orchestra was usually Vincent Rodrigo, an Old Ben and a great musician of the past. His brother Norbert, K.S. Perera (the well-known Art teacher), E.J. Perera (a famous science teacher) was among the violinists. The writer remembers the school hall screen opening at functions to the reverberating sounds of the school orchestra breaking out into an overture from one of the famous composers. It was a memorable sight, a crowded stage full of violins, cello, double bass, music stands, and around 20 musicians on stage!
His association with Bro. Hugh Ferrington highly influenced the development of a school choir. There would have been over 50 children in the choir, ranging from the sweet voiced little sopranos to the high tenor and bid bass seniors! Practices were during the first period, which I believe was 8.45 a.m. to 9.30 a.m. Bonnie tolerated on nonsense and anyone who crept into the choir to avoid the first period, found to his consternation that he would be found out and sent packing back to class! There was on compromising of lack of ability for the sake of keenness to sing! Rather cruel but it helped to develop an excellent blend of voices.
The college choir acquired a reputation for top class singing, and in addition to school performances was often invited to sing at the National Events by the Department of Education. This was usually along with other school choirs and Bonnie invariably conducted the combined choirs. For example, such a combined effort happened when Princess Elizabeth visited Ceylon in 1952.
Along with the granting of Independence, a National anthem was thought of by the government of the day. A competition was held to find a National Anthem.
Bonnie Fonseka composed ‘Behti Ena Pem Pala’, the music was by him and the words by Rev.Fr. Don Peter. The college choir practiced this and sang it in front of a select panel of judges. It was placed third, behind the present anthem and another entry submitted by Lionel Edirisinghe, which was supposed to be the winner. An objection was lodged as Lionel Edirisinghe happed to be one of the judges! Subsequently Lionel Edirisinghe’s entry was disqualified and Namo Namo Matha established as the winner and Behti Ena Pem Pala as second. Behti Ena Pem Pala was said to have too much of a Western music influence. Behti Ena Pem Pala was recorded as a 75 rpm record and the master was available at SLBC in the early 80’s when the writer made inquiries. It still may be available.
Starting with this effort, he went on to compose many other Sinhala songs and Christmas Carols. I believe the same combination worked together for these songs. I also remember, as a member of the choir, practicing a composition by Norbert Rodrigo, to be sent as a record to England for the coronation of Princess Elizabeth. Some of his compositions which the writer recalls are
Sri Lanka Matha –( the flip side of Behti Ena Pem Pala )
Enna Enna Jesuta vadhimu
Ramadha , gavahalaka ipadi..
Song for the Mahathma Gandhi ( at his demise), in Tamil.
Santha Benedict Viduhala Matha (A school song in Singhalese)
During the era when Bonnie Fonseka was choir master, the school took great pride in the fostering of the college choir and time allocation for practices was given without any hesitation. The writer remembers how notices were brought round by a peon calling all choristers for practices, sometimes to the consternation of the teachers conducting classes! Maybe results justified the means i.e. .excellence of the choir!
Bonnie Fonseka died on the 16th of August 1960, aged 64 years and is buried in the cemetery of St.Thomas’ Church, Kotte, the church where he was the choir master and organist for a very long time until succeeded by his eldest son, Placidus.
Mr. Robert Joseph entered St. Benedict’s College as an Advanced Level student in 1953 and joined the Benedictine Choir to sing Alto when Mr. Bonnie Fonseka was training the College Choir. He was also trained by Mrs. Spenser Shepherd, a renowned Choir trainer at Christ Church, Mutwal which was then the Cathedral of Anglican Christians. The practices of this Church Choir was from 4.30 p.m. to 7.00 p.m., daily. In the field of sports he was an excellent Soccer player who captained the College Soccer team in 1954 and 1955. He also possesses National Colours as a Ceylon table tennis Player.
This genuine, versatile and a very dedicated Old Ben who was well known for his unaccompanied four part harmony, took over training the St. Benedict’s Primary Choir and trained for a very long time. During his time of training, he organized three brilliant Concerts featuring the Primary Choir and the Old Bens Choral. The profits of these three fund raises are deposited in the College Development fund as the Choir fund. His style of music contained Barbershop Ballads, Plantation songs, Golden Oldies, Folk songs and Sinhala songs in four-part harmony. The practices of the College Choir were held during school hours. Robert was a member of the Lylie Godridge singers since its inception. He also helped the School in the field of sports as the Secretary of the Sports Board of St. Benedict’s College and a judge for the Annual Sports Meet.
He was an English teacher of St. Benedict’s College and the Master In-Charge of the Benedictine Choir when Mr. Robert Joseph was the trainer. Practicing during school hours had to end due to orders given by Bro. Director. Then onwards he organized practices before school hours on every school day. This resulted in less attendance of Choristers for practices. This lead to Mr. Robert’s retirement as Choir master.
Since then Mr. Johnpulle trained the Choir a few years with the help of the Primary Music Teacher Mrs. Bernadette, for the first Friday masses and other School functions. The Choristers admired him for his genuine personality, which always led him to be truthful and his love for the environment.
Rev. Bro. Augustine
This enthusiastic, hardworking La Sallian Brother took over training the College Choir for first Friday masses and other School functions. He conducted the practices during School hours and therefore had a very large number of Choristers. He faced many difficulties such as opening the piano in the College Hall. But he never gave up on the Choir. He used his electronic organ to train the Choir. In the end of the year 1995, he had to leave School for his higher studies and so he handed over the Choir to Bro. Randolph Arsekuleratne to sing for the first Friday masses.
The Revival and events of the year 1996
The choir of 1996 With Rev. Bro Director, Cammilus Silva(fsc), Primary Chioir Master, Mr . Robert Joseph & Chorus Director of College Choir, Mr. Ravein George.
* The academic year in 1996 began after a long holiday due to a bomb blast and due to the unstable situation of the country. Mr. Ravien George was newly appointed as the Western Music teacher and his first task was to train the year 8 and year 11 students to sing at the Annual English Day. The year 8s sang, “Heal the world” by Michael Jackson and “Edlewise” the Austrian National Anthem, and the year 11s sang “Jamaican Farewell”. Both these items were highly successful.
* Rev. Bro. Randolph Arsekularatne handed over the very weak Choir on the first Friday of January this year to Mr. Ravien George who became the Master In-Charge, Trainer and Accompanist of the Benedictine Choir.
* The revival began on the First Friday of February of this year by Mr. Ravien George taking over the Choir officially and from then onwards it served the College in religious activities and various other functions. It was felt that perhaps this might be the best Choir the College has had after a very long time. The College Choir maintained a half an hour practice before school begins on every school day from 7am to 7.30am and one 21/2 hour after school practice per week in order to maintain high standards.
* Master Michael Sathasivam was elected as the first Choir Leader. His period ended in May ’97. He occasionally accompanied the Choir with the trumpet since he was also a member of the College Western Band.
* A festival of Choirs was organized by the Ceylon Bible Society to be held in the Cathedral of Christ the Living Savior, Colombo 07. The Benedictine Choir was highly praised by local and foreign musicians for the rendering of "The Lord 's my Shepherd " by Oliver Jones. One of the best American organists, infact one of the best in the world was present at this occasion. He specially remarked about our excellent singing.
* The Choir took part in the “Island-wide Carol Competition” organized by the Blessed Joseph Vaz Trust. Although we came through to the Semifinals, we became the 3rd runners up out of the best five English Choirs in the Final round. A un justful judgment by the judges was felt at this competition. But according to Mr. Lylie Godridge’s opinion the Benedictine Choir was the Best. The said carol, “Joy to the world was conducted by Suranjana Perera and the choice carol, “Lully Lulla” was conducted by Ravien George. The Choirs which took part at this competition were, Holy Family Convent- Colombo 04, St. Bridget’s Convent-Colombo 07, St. Peter’s College –Colombo 04 and Cathedral Chorale –Colombo 15.
* The Annual Carol Service was organized by the School to be held on the 20th of December of this year at the College Hall. The Choir sang their first music from Handle 's Messiah "Glory to God " at this service. The Primary Choir trained by Mr. Robert Joseph and the College Western Band trained by Mr. Karunathilaka also performed at this Service.
* The College Director Rev. Bro. Camillus Silva looking at the progress of the Choir, named it as the Best association in college during his time.
Events of the year 1997
* A vast improvement of the Choir took place during this year. We continued to help the religious services of the School. At the first Friday masses of each month, College Day, De La Salle Day, May devotions and Novena to Mary our Mother in the month of October, the Choir enhanced the service by their beautiful secular music. The School didn’t celebrate the Director 's Day since we were without a Director throughout the year.
* The Choristers organized the first Friday mass for the month of February for it was the 1st Birthday of the Choir.
* The Choir organized a grand Easter Service for the 2nd successful year. This exposed the tremendous outlook of the Choir because of the new cassocks, new files, stage settings, and the best classical collection of music for an Easter Service. We attempted music from Handel 's Messiah the "Hallelujah Chorus ". Few other hymns were "Ave Verum " by W. A. Mozart, "Sanctus”, and “Lachrymosa " from Mozart 's Requiem, "The Lord 's Prayer " by Joseph Lees, "O Feli et Felie " a Gregorian Chant, "The Lord 's My Shepherd " by Oliver Jones, "Praise to the Lord " and "All Hail the Power ". Rev. Fr. Clever Perera was the guest soloist. He sang extracts from Handel’s Messiah, which was accompanied by Mr. Niranjan De Silva. Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Fernando the Rector of the National Seminary, Ampitiya an Old Ben was the Chief Guest who delivered the Easter message.
* The new Choir Leader was appointed in the month of May. Master Romesh Bastians was elected as the Choir Leader.
* The Benedictine Choir sang at the High Mass for the Vocation Exhibition organized by the College Legion of Mary on the 31st of May at St. Lucia 's Cathedral. Bishop elect Rev. Fr. Winston Fernando was the Chief Celebrant.
* The "Saints Go Marching In " concert was organized by the Choir of St. Peter 's College together with Josephian and Benedictine Choir at the St. Peter 's College Hall on the 15th & 16th of November. This turned out to be a fortune for our Choir not only to be publicized, but also to join with two leading Catholic Schools and share the Glory of the lovely concert. We sang "Chorus of Hebrew Slaves " by Verdi. "Some where over the rain bow ", "All things bright and beautiful ", "Friends for life ", "Candle in the wind " which was arranged by Mr. Ravien George and the grand finale “The Saints Go Marching In” was sung together with the other two choirs. Miss. Priyanthi Seneviratne was the Chairperson for this concert and the trainer of the Peterite Choir. Mr. Francis D ' Almeida was the trainer of the Josephian Choir.
* A Festival of Choirs was organized at Holy Emmanuel Church Moratuwa to mark the Centenary year of their Sunday school. We sang “Rejoice, Sing aloud” by Lucio San Pedro. The singing of the Choir was not up to standard because the Piano was not in tune.
* The Choir performed at the Annual English Day organized by the English Literary Union. They sang “Circle of life” from Lion King by Elton John and as always the case this item was the best of all the items for the Day.
* The Choir joined the Shepherdian Choir to sing at the Confirmation Service of St. Lucia’s Cathedral, which took place after four years. This is the first time this Choir attempted to sing Sinhala Hymns.
* The Choir also performed at the School Prize Giving held after three years. The item consisted “Some where over the rainbow” from Wizard of Oz and “Chorus of Hebrew Slaves” or well known as “Va-pensiero” from Nabucco, by Juccipe Verdi.
* The Choir performed two Carols for the 50th Anniversary of the Ceylon Bible Society on the 14th December at Methodist College Hall, Colombo 03. The two carols were “Break forth” and “Ding Dong”.
* Rev. Bro. Clement Fernando Provincial Visitor organized the Christmas Carol Service.. Some of the Carols the Choir sang were “O come Emmanuel”, “Break forth”, “Oh Holy Night”, “Gloria”, “Ding Dong” and "Hallelujah Chorus " from Handel 's Messiah.
* The Choir also performed at several other celebrations such as Jubilee in religious life of the La Sallian Brothers and Felicitation of Rev. Bro. Alexander and Rev. Fr. Abraham (two Old Bens), which was organized by the O.B.U. of our College. “Aura Lee” and “Swing Low” were the two items sung by the Choir for the felicitation ceremony.
Events of the year 1998
* The Choir rendered their services at all religious services and at special assemblies. Some of these services were first Friday mass of each month, College Day, Director 's Day, De La Salle Day, May devotion to Our Lady and Novena to Our Lady on the 15th of October.
* The first Friday mass for the month of February was organized by the Choir in order to celebrate the beginning of the 3rd year of the Choir. Master Janaka Perera was elected as the new Choir Leader. Although he could play the Double Bass he never got a chance to accompany the Choir for he did not have one of his own.
* We organized the Annual Easter Service for the 3rd successful year. The "Amen Chorus " from Handel 's Messiah was sung at this service. This was the first time in the Island a School Choir has attempted this Music. Very Rev. Fr. Bernard Quintus, Provincial of the Oblate Priests was the Chief Guest for this service who delivered the Easter message. The service consisted with classical music such as "Worthy is the Lamb & Amen Chorus " from Handel 's Messiah, "The Lord 's Prayer " by Joseph Lees, "Victimae Pascali Laudes " a Gregorian Chant, "Va-pensiero " also known as "Chorus of Hebrew Slaves " by Verdi, "Now unto Him” and “Sing the Glory " from Celebrant Singers, "Creation’s Hymn " by L. Van Beethoven and "The Blessing ".
* The Choir sang in St. Joseph 's Church at De La Salle Center Mutwal, on the 10th of May for the celebrations of Diamond Jubilee of Rev. Bro. Andrew Michael and Bro. Paul Edmund, Golden Jubilee of Bro. Raymund Benildus and Silver Jubilee of Bro. Nimal Gurusinghe and Bro. Augustin Silva.
* A Festival of Choirs was organized by the Ceylon Bible Society on the 7th of July. The Choir went haywire while singing "Worthy is the Lamb " from Handel 's Messiah. This happened because of the Lac of a conductor and the accompaniment not being heard by the choir. Dr. Earl De Fonseka was the Chief Guest for this program. The Choir was taken back to College immediately soon after their item, which was the 4th in the program.
* "The Saints Go Marching In " concert was organized by the Peterite Choir together with the Josephian and Benedictine Choirs for the second time as a tribute to Mr. Lylie Godridge on the 26th of September at St. Peter 's College Auditorium. Our singing was highly appreciated by the Large Audience and we gained a greater recognition in the field of polyphony singing. The Choir sang "What a wonderful world ", "Now unto Him " by Celebrant Singers, "You win again " by Bee Gees, "Chorus of Hebrew Slaves” by Verdi and “Lean on me” by Michael Bolton. Peace Song, Papal Anthem”, "Zadok the Priest " by G. F. Handel, "All things bright and beautiful ", "Candle in the wind " arranged by Mr. Ravien George and the grand finale “Saints Go Marching In” was sung together with the other two Choirs.
* The Choir also performed at the Annual English Day organized by the College English Literary Union. The Choir sang “Love Changes Everything” arranged by Ravien George and “Amigospara Sempre” or better known as “Friends for Life”.
* The National Rupavahini Corporation broadcasted a half an hour program of ‘Carols’ performed by our Choir in the month of December. This successful program was proposed and given to us by Mr. Loxly Dharmaratne who is a parent of a chorister.
* The Choir also sang for the Funeral Service of Mr. Anthony Nair, who was the Father of Master Dhanushka Cyril Nair.
* The Annual Christmas carols although was organized by the School, the Choir took a major role in most aspects. It was a successful program where we had Rev. Fr. Joe Emmanuel Wickramasinghe Vicar General of Colombo who was also a past Rector of St. Peter’s College, as the Chief Guest who delivered the Christmas message. The "Hallelujah Chorus " from Handel 's Messiah was a fitting finale for this evening service.
Events of the year 1999
The Choir of 1998 with Rev. Bro Director, Bro Bertram Perera and Chorus Director Mr. Ravein George.
* The Benedictine Choir has enhanced all religious services of the College throughout this year with there beautiful renderings of classical and pop hymns. Some of these services were ‘First Friday mass of each month, Ash Wednesday, College Day, Directors Day, De La Salle Day, Devotion to Our Lady on 13th of October and Confirmation Service of St. Lucia’s Cathedral.
* The Choir organized the First Friday mass of February because on this day the Choir fulfills three years. Master Krishan Ralph Rodrigo was elected as the new Choir Leader for the year 1999-2000. He was excellent in conducting, specially the “Handel’s Messiah” and also had a lot of potential in leadership. A new system of Choir management was implemented during his time of leadership.
* "The Amen Chorus " from Handel 's Messiah and other hymns were sung at Rev. Fr. Berard 's Silver Jubilee celebration at St. Lucia 's Cathedral on the 27th of February. And the choir was highly remarked for the excellent rendering of the "Amen Chorus ". Our official violin players Mr. Prishan George and Mr. Dilpahan Prasanna accompanied this music.
* The Annual Easter Service was organized by the Choir for the forth successful year on the 04th of April and it turned out to be the Best Easter Service for the last few years. Hymns from great classical composers were rendered at this Service. They were "And the Glory, Hallelujah Chorus, Worthy is the Lamb & Amen Chorus " from Handel 's Messiah, "O Feli et Felie " a Gregorian Chant, “The Creation’s Hymn” by L. Van Beethoven, “The Lord 's Prayer " by Albert Malotte, "Ave Verum” by W. A. Mozart, “Lachrymosa " from Mozart 's Requiem. ”Now unto Him” by Celebrant Singers and “Jesus Reigns” from ‘Crown, Praise Glory’ were two light classics. “Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring” by J. S. Bach was an instrumental item by the chamber orchestra, which consisted with Prishan George, Dilpahan Prasanna and Navin Hemanta on Violin, Navin Fernando on Trumpet, Vianney Wijeyaratnam on Keyboard and Ravien George on Piano. The Chief Guest Rev. Fr. Luwis Marie Navaratne O.S.B., an Old Ben gave the Easter Message and the large gathering joined heartily for the congregational hymns. The service was held in the College Hall and its capacity was not enough to cater the large congregation.
* The Choir sang in St. Joseph 's Church at the La Sallian Center, Mutwal, on the 15th of May for the celebrations of Golden jubilee of Rev. Bro. George Cyril Abeyratne and Silver Jubilee of Rev. Bro. Bertram Perera-the Director of St. Benedict’s College.
* The Choir also sang at the funeral service of Master Christopher Victoria one of our own chorister who was very unfortunate to get drowned at a class trip which was organized by the year 11C class. Christopher sang tenor in the choir. He bared a silent, timid and a very lawful character.
* The Choir performed at the Annual English Day organized by the English Literary Union on the 04th of June. They sang “I Believe” and “Music and me” by Michael Jackson. Ravien George arranged both songs for the Choir.
* The Choir also took part at the "Festival of Choirs " organized by the Ceylon Bible Society on the 30th of August, with only 17 members. We managed to keep some standard even with such a low turn up.
* The Benedictine Choir won the Semifinals of the "All Island Choir Competition " organized by the Ministry of Education and was named as the Best Choir in the Western province. They sang "Worthy is the Lamb " from ‘Handel 's Messiah’ the greatest Oratorio in the world and gained 82% points. The Choir was Conducted by Krishan Rodrigo and was accompanied by Ravien George.
* They also Won the FIRST PLACE at the Finals of the above competition and became “The Island 's Best School Choir of year 1999”. All the competitions were held at Devi Balika Vidyalaya, Colombo 08. The judges were thrilled to hear our beautiful rendering of this great classical piece. Mr. Bob Smith from New Zealand was one of the judges with whom the Choir had a day of training in October and learned a lot of finer points of good singing.
* The Choir had a brilliant performance at the award ceremony of the above competition at Visaka Vidyalaya, Colombo 04. Rev. Bro. Director was also present.
* The Choir sang for the funeral service of Rev. Bro. Aloysius Conrad F.S.C. on the 01st of September. He was a past Sub Director of St. Benedict’s College.
* The Choir performed at the Festival of Choirs organized by the Institute of Western Music and Drama on the 26th of September at Bishop’s College Auditorium, Colombo 07. They sang what a wonderful world “, “Lean on me” and “You’ll never walk a lone”. The presentation was not up to standard due to the drummer not being properly trained.
* The Choristers took part at the Choral Service for “Michaelmastide” in St. Michael and All Angel’s Church Polwatta, Colombo 03.
* The Choir had a brilliant performance at the Carols Service organized by the School on the 03rd of December. “For Unto Us A Child Is Born” from Handel’s Messiah and other popular carols were sung at this service by the Choir. Rev. Fr. Kingsley Jayamanne Vicar General of Colombo Diocese who was also a past Rector of St. Peter’s College was the Chief Guest.
* This year’s program was concluded with the Choir’s first attempt in ‘Caroling’ on the 26th of December around Kotahena. By visiting houses and singing Carols the Choir really created a Christmas spirit at the places they visited. Events of the year 2000
The Choir of 2000 with Rev. Bro. Director, Bertram Perera & MIC Ms. Saranga Rajapakse..
* The Benedictine Choir has enhanced all religious services of the College throughout this year with there beautiful renderings of classical and pop hymns. Some of these services were ‘First Friday mass of each month, Ash Wednesday, College Day, Directors Day, De La Salle Day, and Devotion to Our Lady in the month of October.
The Choir organized the First Friday mass of February because on this day the Choir fulfills four years. Master Naresh Sathasivam was elected as the new Choir Leader for the year 2000-2001. He had a lot of potential in leadership.
This was a very difficult and crucial period for the Choir. The Choir went through a traumatic period when the all important center of command Mr. Ravein George announced his retirement from Chorus Directorship to teach at a Music Academy in Dubai. He was a western music teacher and was teacher in charge of IT studies at college during his period of service. He was heavily involved in several associations such as the Interact Club, Legion of Mary, YCS, De la sale club and a many more student movements in College. It was anticipated that the Choir would come to a virtual standstill without Mr. Ravein George. He was considered to the be the heart beat of the Choir by the Choristers and the entire Benedictine community. It was virtually impossible to think of a Choir of this standard without him. The Choir had gained a lot of popularity as one of the top 5 school Choirs in Sri Lanka. At this point it was felt that, perhaps this is how the Choir would have been in Mr. Bonnie Fonseka era.
After the retirement of Mr. Ravien George, it was an enormous task to maintain the high quality of singing, and continue the valued traditions that was built throughout the years. This was a very emotional period for the Choir, because things were never the same since the departure of Mr. Ravein George for all Choristers were very attached to him. We even experienced several Choristers resigning from the Choir. It was then past Choir Leader, Mr. Krishan Rodrigo and Current Choir Leader Mr. Naresh Sathasivam, who were trained by Mr. Ravien George, decided to undertake the responsibility of training and directing the choir.
Since then the image of the choir has changed from a choir that performed only classical music to a choir that performed all types of music.
Soon after the departure of Mr. Ravein George, Mr. Eshantha de Andrado a student of Late Kaslashoori Lylie Godridge approached Rev. Bro. Bertram Perera in order to train the College Choir.
The Choir was invited to perform at “Music Heals” as Guest Choir at the St. Joseph’s College auditorium. The Choir sang Music& Me by Michael Jackson and Tears in heaven by Eric Clapton. It was felt that the Choir’s tone quality and balance was not up to mark.
Naresh Sathasivam believed that the valued traditions that Mr. Ravein built in the Choir should be continued. Therefore organizing the annual Easter Service was a huge challenge and an uphill task for both Krishan Rodrigo and Naresh Sathasivam. The Choristers with the help of Director Rev, Bro. Bertram Perera, and Rev. Bro. Nimal Gurusinghe organized the Easter service. The Easter service was successful. However, the Choir’s quality of performance was questionable.
Soon after the Easter Service Mr. Eshantha de Andrado retired form training the College Choir.
The Choir was then invited to sing at the festival of Choirs organized by the interact club of Royal Club. We attempted our first pop song without a Chorus director. Krishan Rodrigo and Shalindra Perera arranged the four parts for “How deep is your love by the Bee Gees”. This was when the Choir discovered that Master Shalindra Perera had a lot of potential in Music. The choir also performed the Lord’s by Mellotte. Master Vianney Wijeyaratnam & Master Shalindra Perera accompanied the College Choir on piano. The Lord’s Prayer was accompanied on two pianos. This was the first time the College Choir was accompanied by their own Choristers. The performances were highly praised by the audience. Especially the Lord’s Prayer. It was felt that the Choir had got their quality singing back on line under the direction of Naresh Sathasivam & Krishan Rodrigo who were A/l Students at this time.
The Choir was then invited to sing at the festival of Choirs organized by the Ceylon Bible Society on the 01st of August at the Cathedral of Christ the Living Savior. The Halleluiah Chorus from the Handle’s Messiah was well executed by the Choir accompanied by Naveen Fernando on trumpet. A very distinguished Lady Lawyer in Sri Lanka, the guest of honor said that, she never expected something so spectacular from the Choir of St. Benedict’s College. She even stated that the majestic praise in music bought tears to the eye of the audience.
The Choir of 2000 in the papers
Due to the increasing popularity of the Choir, Naresh Sathasivam & Krishan Rodrigo decided to implement a brand name for the Choir. It was after much consideration and consultation with the College authorities the Choir was named “The Choir of St. Benedict’s College, Colombo ”
The Choir continued serving the College by performing at all annual official functions such as the English Day, Prize Giving and made aware to every one present, the standard of Choral singing in College.
The Choir was invited to participate in GODSPEL2000, a combined Choral Carol service organized by the Colombo Archdiocese. The Combined Choir was Directed by our very own Francis de Almeida. Master Krishan Rodrigo our immediate past Choir leader Conducted the 700 voiced Combine Choir for the Halleluiah Chorus from the Handle’s Messiah.
The Choir took part in a Carol competition organized by Mc Donald’s Rajagiriya. The Choir took part in this competition not knowing that this event was to be held out doors. Due to this fact, the four parts of the Choir did not balance and the Choir was not able to be impressive enough to win the competition.
The Choir performed at its annual Carol Service together with the College Western Band. The Choirs high quality singing was maintained through out the service.
The Choir’s busy season ended by Caroling around Kotahena and Wattala.
Events of the year 2001
The Benedictine Choir has enhanced all religious ser vices of the College throughout this year with their beautiful renderings of classical and pop hymns. Some of these services were ‘First Friday mass of each month, Ash Wednesday, College Day, Directors Day, De La Salle Day, Devotion to Our Lady in the of October and Confirmation Service of St. Lucia’s Cathedral and special assemblies.
It is a common tradition among the Ben choristers that the all important choir leader is elected on the first Friday of February of each year. It was among several contestants that Master. Frank Emanuel was elected to take up the responsibility.
The year began for the boys with the Choir being invited by the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation for a recording to be aired on Independence Day. The choir sang a beautiful arrangement of "Let there be Peace on Earth " and "We are the World ".
The Choir also was also very pleased to be invited as the only school choir to sing the Hallelujah Chorus at St. Lucia’s Cathedral for the 44th anniversary thanks giving service of the Sri Lankan Air Force.
The choir carried out its tradition of singing for the De La Salle Day at their Center at Mutuwal Colombo 15.
The College Choir also performed at The Bens in Concert along with the Old Bens Choral and the Primary Choir. The audience was thrilled to hear the rendering of Panis Angelicus, Tears in Heaven and Adoramuste. The choir also performed Panis Angelicus at the eighth Festival of Choirs organized by the Ceylon Bible Society. Many old boys present at the Cathedral of Christ the living Savior were very proud of the young Choristers.
The choir went on an excursion to Sunflower Beach Hotel Negambo. Usually the boys are remarked for their singing but this time many outsiders were highly taken up by the discipline the boys maintained even at time of relaxation.
The choir was invited to take part in a concert Music Ablaze organized by St. Joseph’s College. Leading School Choirs in Colombo was a part of this show held at the Bishop’s College Auditorium. The Choir sang He Trusted in god, from the Messiah by G.F Handle, River of Dreams by Billie Joel and "I’ll be Missing You " by Sting. All these numbers are the first time a school choir has attempted in Sri Lanka.
The The Choir of 2001 at Music Ablaze
Events of the year 2002
The Choir of 2002 Conducted by Dilan Irugalbandara & accompanied by Sean Paldano on Piano
The Benedictine Choir has enhanced all religious services of the College throughout this year with their beautiful renderings of classical and pop hymns. Some of these services were ‘First Friday mass of each month, Ash Wednesday, College Day, Directors Day, De La Salle Day, Devotion to Our Lady in the of October and Confirmation Service of St. Lucia’s Cathedral and special assemblies.
It is a common tradition among the Benedictine choristers that the all important choir leader is elected on the first Friday of February of each year. It was among several contestants that master Sohan Peiris was elected to take up the responsibility.
The first ever college concert staged out Side College after more than 30 or more years. A huge success indeed. This was not measured only by the profit that show generated but also by the quality of the production. There are quite a few but important factors that contributed towards this. To start with, the invited school choirs were St. Bridget 's, St. Peter 's and Holy Family Convent. The Standards of these choirs needs no introduction. There is no mistake saying that these choirs could be among the top five choirs in Colombo. The support and encouragement that the Choir of St. Benedict’s College received from these schools and the choirs were tremendous. We owe a huge thanks to Rev Fr. Felician Ranjith and St Peter 's College for making the college chapel available whenever required.
The Combine Choir of Song Shine
The concert was a real chance created to show the talents of choristers from all choirs. The Benedictine choir performed three sensational items. They were O sacred Head Sore Wounded, from the St. Mathew 's Passion by J.S Bach, which was highly praised by the classical music lovers present that day. One of the comments was that ' 'none of the choirs these days attempt this type of music in this part of the world ' '. It is no doubt that the Benedictine choir has a very high reputation as a very high standard classical choir.
It is also necessary to comment about the other two numbers that the Benedictine choir performed. They are Karma Chameleon and The Reggae Medley. These were arranged for four part harmony by one of our own choristers, master Shalindra Perera. He proved to be a specialist in four part and piano accompaniment for choirs.
The main attraction of the show was the combined choirs back by a professional group of accompanists. The group consisted of Ruwanthi Yatagama on piano and key boards, Dilpahan Prassana and Nilanthi Weerakoon on violins, Namalee Fernando on cello, Dayananda Fernando on viola, Lilani Wheerakoon on flute, Nalake Perera on bassoon, Naveen Fernando on Trumpet, Manilal Weerakoon on French horn, Abaya Rajakarunanayake on trombone, Deloriane Fernando on Bass guitar, Neomal Weerakoon on kettle drums and Christopher Prins on drums.
The combined choirs preformed Sing the glory by Celebrant Singers, Part time lover by Stevie Wonder, O Fortuna from Carmina Burana by Carl Orff and The Storm is Over by R. Kelly.
Mr. Peter De Almeida helped the organizing committee to produce the show. He bolted things together when the first rehearsal did not show us what we expected to see. Over and all the production was a success and was a real confidence booster for the organizing committee for their next production. The organizing committee was chaired by our ever so loyal old Benedictine Mr. Ravi Irugalbandara.
The College choir preformed at the annual English day by singing, "Guide me O Though Great Redeemer " and One Love by Bob Marley. This turned out to be the best Item for the day and was highly remarked by the chief guest.
The choir was also invited to perform for the ninth festival of choirs, organized by the Ceylon Bible Society at the Cathedral of Christ the living Savior. The people were thrilled to hear the rendering of The Worthy Is the Lamb form the Handle 's Messiah. Though the singing was accurate, we found it difficult to keep up with the piano because it was placed quite distant from the choir. The acoustics of the church too contributed to this factor. Neveen Fernando accompanied the choir on trumpet.
The choir also was invited to perform at the Festival of Choirs organized by Royal College at the Lionel Wendt Theatre. Once again we performed O Fortuna and One love at a peak level and won the hearts of many audiences as the best classical & reggae performances of the night.
The College prize giving was made colorful when the choir sang Karma Chameleon and Jesus Reigns. Many commented about the brilliant balance and selection of songs.
The choir started its December season by singing at the Ceylon Intercontinental Hotel. This was a Christmas party organized by A Bauer and Company. Considering the fact that the singing had to be held outdoors the boys did well to balance and keep the parts together.
The busy season continued by participating in the College carols service together with the primary choir and the college western band. It was a sad sight not to see the ever so popular Choro Benedicte our very own old Benedictine choral in action. The choir did very well to maintain their high reputation but the acoustics of the college hall did not help. This was due to the windows of the hall were open with no blinders.
The college choir was also invited to participate in The Encounter 2002 organized by the Christian ministry at St. Lucia’s Cathedral.
The Choir got immense publicity by the ABC radio network as the number one rated choir in the island for their guest performances at the World trade Center and Majestic City Shopping mall on the 23rd and 24 of December. The Choir proved that they are a true Champion Choir. The Choir sure did bring the Christmas spirit to the hearts of the people present on both venues.
The Choir of 2002 Conducted by Chorus Director Krishan Rodrigo
The choir ended its busy year by going caroling around Kotahena and Wattala with seven of its senior members.
Events of the year 2003
The Choir welcomed 2003 with Memories, a concert organized by the Old Bens Chorale. It was held at the College hall. We were invited to do a special guest performance. The choir performed, Never should have let you go by Everyday People Isn’t she lovely by Stevie wonder – arrangements by Shalindra Perera O sacred head so wounded
During the beginning of this year, it was decided by Rev. Bro. Granville Perera that the choir should no longer perform at First Friday Masses due to its busy schedule. A new choir trained by Rev. Bro. Augustine was assigned to sing at regular First Friday Masses. The choir was however invited to perform at the College Day Mass, which was held on the 11th of July, and continued to serve the first Friday mass again thereafter.
Yet another giant project successfully accomplished by the Ben Choristers. The Ben Choir together with the choirs of St. Bridget’s Convent, St. Peter’s College, and Bishops College staged a massive choral evening on the 11th &12th 2003.
Despite having had to stay until late for the final rehearsal of Vochestra the choristers performed at the College Day Mass the next day and came back, early for their performance at Vochestra even though they were supposed to be resting.
The Ben choir performed “O Fortuna” from the Carmina Burana by Carl Orff, I will get there” by Boyz II Men and “With a little help from my friends” by Joe Cocker. The show was a complete stunner to the audience. The compeer for the two nights was Reshmaal Caldera.
The Choir of 2003 on the front Cover of the Mirror Magazine – Sunday Times
The main feature of this concert was the Ben choir performing “I will get there” backed by a 35-piece Orchestra, which was commented on, by the media as “well executed”. The guest conductor was Mr.Manilal Weerakoon. The combined choir consisting of 100 voices from all participating schools performed “Jerusalem” by Blake, “Cry” by Michael Jackson and “A Mighty Fortress” by The Celebrant Singers & “River of Dreams” by Billy Joel. Orchestrations and coordinating for the 35 piece festival orchestra that backed the Ben Choir and 100 voice-combined choir was done by Navin Fernando. All arrangements for pop songs, which were in 4 parts, were done by Master Shalindra Perera. We wish to thank Mr. Peter Almeida for producing the show and improving the quality of it even under difficult situations.
The departure of Master Shalindra Perera was a great loss for the choir as he arranged most of the pop songs for the choir. It should be mentioned that though he was supposed to leave earlier he stayed until the end of Vochestra proving his never-ending devotion for the choir. Master Gihan Irugalbandara was chosen as the new choir leader for the remainder of the year.
Next on the choir’s agenda was the English Day, which was held on the 1st of August at the College hall. The item presented was, Never should’ve let you go by Everyday People
Then came Rhythm & Melodies, a concert organized by the Western Music Unit of the Zonal Educational Office, Colombo. It was held on the 8th of August 2003 at the Bishop’s College Auditorium. Nineteen of Colombo’s Leading schools took part. Our Primary Choir also took part. The Choir of St. Benedict’s College sang, With a little help from my friends by Joe Cocker
The Festival of Choirs organized by the Western Music Society of Royal College was next. Six school choirs took part in this annual event. The Benedictine choir showed off its talents with, O sacred head so wounded & I will get there by Boyz to Men
The tenors and basses of the Choir took part in the National Music Festival – Music for Unity 2003 organized by the Western Music Unit of the Ministry of Human Resource Development Education & Cultural Affairs, which was held on the 18th of October. This was truly an unforgettable experience as choirs from all over the island took part in this major event.
National Music Festival
The Annual prize Giving. The choir always puts on a good show on this day. Therefore, in an attempt to come back to its former standard two new numbers were performed. Veni Creator – Gregorian chant. It was highly praised by everyone at the prize giving because musical masterpieces the likes of this were rarely sung. Beautiful in my eyes by Joshua Kadison – arranged by Dilan Irugalbandara This was a bold attempt since he took up the challenge of arranging pop songs after Shalindra left.
It was a great privilege for the choir to perform at the welcome mass held for Rt. Rev. Bro. Alvaro Rodriguez, Vicar General of the De LaSalle Brothers, Rome. The choir was praised for their singing by the visiting brothers and also had the chance of taking a few photographs with Bro. Alvaro Rodriguez.
The choir performed at a Special ceremony held at the De LaSalle Brothers head quarters, Mutuwal before the departure of Bro. Alvaro and his colleagues from Rome. We performed two numbers.
The Lord’s Prayer
Beautiful in my eyes
The authorities of College decided not to host the annual Carol Service. Instead permitted the Interact Club of College to organize a Christmas Concert named Bene Natale.. This was held at the Russian cultural center on the 16th and 17thof December.
The Choir of 2003 conducted by Chorus Director Krishan Rodrigo
Entrance was by tickets. The choir was back to its best with this performance. Shalindra returned for a brief holiday and together with Dilan worked on some new arrangements. However poor organizing was felt at this programme. The Choir rendered:
O little town of Bethlehem
Up good christen folk
Awake the Harp
Medley – Winter Wonderland , Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, Christmas Polka, Jingle bells - Arranged by Shalindra Perera
The choristers had the opportunity of performing at Hotel Trans Asia at the A Baurs Christmas Party held on the 18th of December. The choir was unexpectedly backed by some talented musicians of the Navy Band on this night. A Medley of common Christmas songs was performed.
The final event for the year 2003, the St. Lucia’s Cathedral Carols, which was held on the 21st of December, brought a splendid end to the year. The choir’s singing was highly praised by the Bishop of Colombo who was the chief guest on that day. The choir performed, O little town of Bethlehem, Up good christen folk & Break forth
Events of the year 2004The ninth anniversary of the Benedictine choir was held on the 6th of February 2004. On this day Master Dilan Irugalbandara was elected as the 10th choir leader. The following were also elected as the board Control for the Choir of St. Benedict’s College.
Adrian Lawrence -Editor
Prasanna peries -Finance Director
Dilantha Chandimal -Files management
Julius Mitchell -Attendance and punctuality Management
Harsha Abeysekera -Costume management
Navin Fernando -Soprano leader
Rajendra Ronald -Alto leader
Joseph Rodrigo -Tenor leader
Nipun hewage -Bass leader
The choral year began on the 3rd of March, where the choir and the drama club of St. Benedict’s college worked together to take part in a drama competition organized by the drama club of Royal College. Adoramuste, Venicreator Spiritus, The Lords Prayer, and O Sacred were the hymns that were sung for this competition. The drama club lost at the final round.
The Easter service was an annual event of the Benedictine choir but unfortunately it was cancelled in the year 2001. The tradition was ones again revived. With “ADOROTE DEVOTE” as the theme, the Easter service was held on the 18th of April at the college hall.
The choir consisted 63 members. The choir displayed an outstanding performance on this day. Adorote devote, The lord’s my shepherd, A Mighty Fortress, Sing The Glory, Pie Jesu, Surely, Regina Coeli, were some of the hymns sung on that day. The organizing was completely done by the senior members of the choir under the guidance of the choir director Krishan Rodrigo. The choristers showed their dedication in various ways. The performance was praised many.
Annual Easter Service
The month of May was rather silent due to school vacation. As we slowly moved into the month of July, seven of our choristers were getting prepared for a tour in Germany. Their names are as follows
Dilan Irugalbandara (choir Leader)
They were chosen along with thirteen other students from various schools in Colombo to form the Colombo Catholic Youth Choir (CCYC), which is been trained by Surain Perera. Mrs. MaryAnn Johnpille was acting as the chief organizer. The CCYC represented Sri Lanka by taking part in a choral festival named “Purei Cantores” held in Germany. This was an experience of a lifetime for the seven Ben Choristers. The most important thing about this tour is that the CCYC consisted of 20 Choristers, out of which 7 of them were from the Benedictine choir. The choir left on the 9th of July and returned on the 20th of July. Since the choir leader was also touring to Germany, master Harsha Abeysekera was appointed, acting choir leader.
Choristers on their tour to Germany as part of CCYC
As our 7 Choristers returned to Sri Lanka the choir was getting prepared for the biggest event in the college calendar namely the college day. This year the college day was celebrated in a grand style. The Benedictine choir performed two items, namely “The Storm Is Over and I Will Get There” the solos were done by Rehan Senaka and Gihan Irugalbandara (past leader).
The Choir of 2004 Conducted by Adrian Lawrence, Solo by Rehan Seneka
The month of August started of with the choir practicing for concert at the Bishop’s auditorium. The L.M.D of Girls High School Kandy organized this concert for their 125th anniversary. The choir attempted a new pop song, which was “I’ll Be There” originally sung by Jackson Five. Master Dilan Irugalbandara did the choral arrangement for this song. The solo was sung by master Julius Mitchell. This song was accompanied master Sandeep on piano, master Shivantha (past chorister) on the bass guitar and master Shalindra (past choir leader) on drums. The choir also sang the classical hymn “Surely” which was accompanied by miss Ruwanthi Yatagama. The performance on that day was highly appreciated by the audience.
The next few months were rather silent. The choir was engaged in most of the school occasions especially masses which were organized by the school and the old bens. However, from the beginning of the month of November the choir started their practices for the Christmas season. This time the heavy schedule for Christmas began with performing for the old bens dinner dance. This was the first time that a school organization was invited for the Dinner Dance. The choir lifted up the spirit of Christmas by singing a Christmas medley and a new version of jingle bells. This was held on the 10th of December.
The next performance took place on the 18th and 19th at “ODEL”. The choir had a performance time of 30 minutes, which they did their best in lifting up the spirit of Christmas.
The Choir of 2004 conducted by Chorus Director Mr. Krishan Rodrigo
“Brake Forth” was the theme of this years Christmas carol service. It was held on the 23rd of December. A committee led by Rev. Bro. Gurusinghe organized the service this year. The choir performed the following carols.
O little town of Bethlehem
O holly night
White Christmas (Arranged by Dilan Irugalbandara)
The choir ended the service with a medley arranged by Shalindra Perera, which lifted everyone on their feet. Miss. Ruwanthi Yatagama, Master Sandeep John, Shane John and Sean Paldano accompanied the choir. The singing was outstanding on that day. The choir prepared for their next event which was going on caroling. But unfortunately because of the tsunami disaster that struck Sri Lanka, it was cancelled.
Events of the year 2005
The beginning of the tenth year of the Choir of St. Benedict’s College began with the election of the 11th Choir Leader Master Harsha Abeysekara.
The choir was able to organize a get together for all choristers for all the hard work they have put up. The past Chorister of St. Benedict’s College was invited for this special occasion. The past Choristers suggested carrying out this event annually to motivate the young Choristers and to keep the Benedictine Choristers, both young and old together as one family.
The Cake for 9 years of continuous improvement, since the revival of the Choir
The Choir organized and held its annual Easter Service titled “Jesu Redemptor” on the 02 of April 2005 at the college hall. The Choir consisted of 60 members. Jesu Redemptor, Sanctus by Mortzart, There is a green Hill, Panis Angelicus, were some of the hymns that were sung that day. The Choir was accompanied by Ms. Ruwanthi yatagama on Piano and Directed and Conducted by Mr. Krishan Rodrigo. The other accompanists were Sandeep John on Organ, Shane John on Drums and Sean Paldano on Piano. Dedication, Unity, Effort and hard work contributed to make this event a success.
The Choir of 2005 Conduicted by Chorus Director, Mr. Krishan Rodrigo
Soon after the Easter Service the Choir began practices for a concert named “Vibrant Voices” which was held on the 10 of June at the BMICH. This concert was organized by the interact clubs of St. Bridget’s Convent and St. Sebastian’s College. The Choirs of St. Bridget’s Convent, Ladies College, Good Shepherd Convent, St. Peter’s College, and St. Joseph’s College were the other Choir that participated. Though the Ben Choir turned out to be the best performing Choir by means of selections and harmony, it was felt that the Ladies College Choir was also of good standard by means of quality.
The combined Choir for Vibrant Voices Conducted by Mr. Krishan Rodrigo – Chorus Director of the Choir of St. Benedict’s College
The Ben Choir was instrumental in putting together a Combined Choir for the Concert. It is with great pride that we recall that the conductor of this combined Choir was on of our very own master Adrian Lawrence. The Combined Choir consisted of Choristers from all schools. The combined Choir was directed by Krishan Rodrigo.
The Choir 2005 Conducted by Chorus Director, Krishan Rodrigo, Solos by Adrian Lawrence & Julius Mitchel
The next event on the Choir’s agenda was the Peoples Bank 44th anniversary “Thanks Giving Service”, which was held on the 04th of July 2005 at the Holy Rosary Church, Colombo 02. the Choir was accompanied by Ms. Ruwanthi Yatagama.
The Choir was also invited to sing at the Confirmation Service that was held at the St. Lucia’s Cathedral. The choir was also invited to sing 02 items at the College prize giving. As usual these items turned out to be the items with the highest standards.
A “Festival of Choirs” was organized by the Ceylon Bible Society on the 01st of August at the Cathedral of Christ the Living Savior. The Choir Sang “Surely” & the Lord’s Prayer by Mellotte. The Chief guest for this event Mr. Rod Gilbert, the principal of the Trinity College, Kandy, commented on no other Choir but the Ben choir for their flawless performance of the Lord’s Prayer.
All Tenors and Basses of the Choir of St. Benedict’s College took part in the National Music Festival – Music for unity organized by the western Music unit of Human Resource Development, education and cultural affairs, which was held on the 29th of October at the Sugathadasa Stadium. Dr. Greg French (High Commissioner for Australia in Sri Lanka) was the Chief guest fir the evening. During practices and performances, the Ben Choristers always took the forefront.
The Benedictine Choir enhanced all religious services of the College throughout the year with their beautiful rendering of Classical and contemporary hymns. Some of these events were first Friday masses of each month, Ash Wednesday, College day, Director’s Day , De La Salle day, Devotion to our Lady, mass for departed old Benedictines, Old Boys Union AGM Mass and Prize Giving.
Board of Control for the Choir of St. Benedict
Chorus Director Krishan Rodrigo
Choir Leader Harsha Abeysekakara
Financial Controller Basil Perera
Editor Adrian Lawrence
Scores Manager Subaharan Reginald
Personnel Management Isuru Kumarasinghe
Costume Management Dellon Fernando
Tenor Line Leader Praneeth Paul
Bass Line Leader Shashi Perera
Alto Line Leader Jude Lakshitha
Soprano Line Leader Arith Fernando
Accompanists - Ms. Ruwanthi Yatagama (Piano)
Sandeep John (Piano & Organ)
Sean paldano (Piano & Organ)
Shane John (Drums)
Julius Mitchel (Piano)
Shivantha Fernando (Bass Guitar)
Pathum Fernando (Lead & Rhythm Guitar)
The Beginning of the Month of October began with practices for the Christmas Season. This is a peak season for the Ben Choir.
The Choir was invited to perform the Taj Samudra hotel and the St, Benedict’s College Sports club Christmas party on the same day. Next, the Choir was invited to Perform at the ODEL Shopping complex for one hour on the 18th, 19th & 20th of December. The Choir was well received by the all present at the complex on those days.
The Choir was also invited to perform 03 items at the St. Lucia’s Cathedral Coral Service. The items of the Choir of St. Benedict’s College, was received as the best out of all Choirs performing that evening
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