“An insatiable sense of humour, an unbreakable bond of fellowship, an abiding love for the old school, a hunger for maalu paan, and a happy coincidence that we all just happen to sing well,” says old-hand of the Peterite Chorale - Surein De S. Wijeyeratne, about what brings and keeps the Chorale together! Here’s Surein’s take on their upcoming show…
What has the Chorale been up to since 2003?
A: We’ve been singing regularly for the College Easter Cantata, as well as an occasional Christmas Carol Service. Other than that, we’ve been kept occupied by singing at a few of our chorale members’ weddings and some other public performances at shows, together with other choirs and groups.
Any reason why you decided to do a concert this year in particular?
A: One reason was the need to record some of our work and launch a CD, and use the proceeds from the show to cover the cost of recording and producing that CD. Since we already have been performing for more than 16 years and have not yet seriously recorded our work, we felt this is an essential step. Reason two was that some of our Old Boys in Australia have been keen on getting us over to perform ‘Down Under’, so we’re currently in the process of planning a show there too. And there’s no better way of preparing for a performance, than to perform!
What sort of repertoire are you planning for this show?
A: Our forte has always been in performing a combination of choral classics, songs from the musicals, to those modern songs which lend themselves well to choral adaptations. The music for this show time’s is essentially a combination of spiritual and secular pieces, which is a formula that we have always stuck to in our performances. Most are pieces we have put together for this show itself, and a few have been borrowed from our existing repertoire over the last few years. We’ve also revamped our wardrobe…finally!!! That alone is well worth the watch!
The history of the Chorale ‘in a nut-shell’?
A: Well the Chorale dates back to 1992, when the late Fr. Joe Wickremasinghe, the then Rector, suggested that a group of dedicated past students who attended the annual Peterite Easter Cantata presented by the Choir of St. Peter’s College, at the College Chapel, participate at future Easter Cantatas as well. And so came about ‘The Peterite Chorale.’ Our maiden performance was at the Peterite Easter Cantata of 1993, after which we built and sustained the group over the years under the able guidance and direction of Stefan Corera.
There about 35 or so active choristers, who at present range from 20 to 50! The Chorale has added depth and versatility to its music by the contribution of exceptional Peterite musicians, such as Neomal de Alwis, Dileep Seneviratne, and Yohan de Alwis apart from the encouragement and moral support received from other Peterite stalwarts such as Mano Chanmugam.
In 2003, the Chorale celebrated its 10th year anniversary with two sell-out performances at the Lionel Wendt, titled A Decade Together…Forever.
What makes the Peterite Chorale unique?
A: Our own careers and personal commitments make it impossible to spend as much time rehearsing and performing as we would like to. The group has always been unique, since it has only Peterites, and this year we have a number of new entrants from among those who have just left College and some of the ‘old brigade’ who’ve made a come-back!
The show will feature guest performances by Adlib and Dilrukshi Fonseka, with Christopher Prins and Neranjan de Silva accompanying the Chorale on drums and keyboards, respectively. Feel the Resonance, presented by the Peterite Chorale, on November 21 and 22, at the British School Auditorium. Tickets are available at the Auditorium. There will be limited seating, so please purchase your tickets early to avoid disappointment.
The co-sponsors for the concert are Micro and Sarana Auto Seat Manufacturers. The electronic media sponsor is TNL Lite, while the print media sponsors will be the Daily Mirror and the Sunday Times