In 1994, a group of “young old Thomians”, upon leaving school decided they wanted to start a choral group. This was the birth of the Revelations. But the group themselves would at that point have little imagined either their longevity or success. From a quiet beginning- performing at concerts on and off, today they have the satisfaction of having reached appreciable heights even in the international arena.
They have given music lovers in Sri Lanka the chance to listen to some wonderful renditions of well loved songs over the years and their forthcoming concert on March 19 and 20 at the Lionel Wendt theatre will be a nostalgic journey as they perform a selection of songs from their various concerts over the past 15 years. The show is aptly titled ‘Revs Reminisce’.
“We haven’t had a full length concert since August last year,” says choral director Sanjeev Jayaratnam adding that in January this year they had a ‘fantastic’ concert at Kandy’s Hillwood College- “It was one of our best shows.”
Some of the songs they will be reminiscing include, “To love somebody”, “Cecilia”, “Late in the evening”, “Peanut vendor”, “Keys to the vaults” and “Long train running” and they will also be performing a Sri Lankan hit, “Ganga addara”.
These songs as well as the rest have been compiled based on the feedback they have received.
Most of the arrangements for this concert are Sanjeev’s own. Over the years, he feels the biggest change they have had as a group lies in the level of difficulty in what they perform. “What we performed in ’94 in comparison to what we perform now has definitely got tough,” says Sanjeev. “Bohemian Rhapsody for example was a tough one.” They have also experimented and tried adding various aspects to their concert – one of which is to have skits.
As for future plans, the Revelations have already recorded two originals they will be performing in two overseas concerts this year. “As long as the group is together we would like to continue singing and try to keep raising the bar,” says Sanjay.
Srimanthaka Senanayake, a member of the group since 1998 says, “When we started out it was a group of Thomians who had just left school. It was certainly very entertaining but amateur! Therefore the biggest improvement I have noticed over the years is how the group is a much more professional outfit.”
Their first wake-up call was when they took part in the Asian Choir Games in Jakarta, Indonesia. Seeing the competition was certainly an eye opener.
A lot of hard work thus went into their preparations for the World Choir Games in Graz, Austria, which was rewarded by the success they had at the Games where they picked up a couple of medals including being crowned champions in the Gospel category.
“It’s the sense of professionalism that comes out as well as vocal techniques and stage presence,” says Srimanthaka adding, “We want to portray ourselves as entertainers rather than simply performers.”
Sanoj de Mel and Hiran Saram joined the Revelations in September 2008 –when all the singing they had done prior to that was in school.
“It was an article in the Mirror Magazine asking anybody interested to join that made me call them up,” says Sanoj.
They have both improved in leaps and bounds since joining, they add. “We didn’t know much about music, but that has now changed,” says Hiran, adding that they are looking forward to the concert in which they will be doing a number of acapella songs.
“It will certainly be a bit of a different concert compared to the last one and the audience can look forward to a variety of songs,” Ishan De Lanerolle, President of the Revelations, says.
Tickets for Revs Reminisce are on sale at the Wendt.
The electronic media sponsors for the show are EFM and ETV while the Daily Mirror and the Sunday Times are the print media sponsors. The co sponsors for the concert are Harpo’s Cafe and Restaurants.