It was an outstanding achievement for the choir of Methodist College, Colombo 3 who did the country proud with their performances at an international choir competition, the first Vietnam International Choir Competition and Festival where they obtained a Gold medal and other honours.
The Vietnam International Choir Competition and Festival held in Hoi-An Vietnam from March 16-20 was organised by Interkultur, a German-based organization that runs music competitions and festivals all over the world. Thirty one choirs from countries including Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Philippines took part and the Methodist School Choir - the only group to have represented Sri Lanka at the event competed in two categories ‘Youth choir of equal voices’ (open to girls up to the age of 19 and boys up to 25) and the open category ‘Sacred music’. Bagged a Gold diploma in the Equal Voices they were adjudged the champions in that particular category.
|The Methodist College choir at the competition
Choir Director Sanjeev Jayaratnam of Revelations fame explained that the former category was based on a point system where any choir that obtained over 20.5 points got a Gold diploma and as such there could be multiple choirs obtaining that status. The Methodist choir with the highest points, became the category winner .
In the Sacred Music category, the Methodist College choir ran short of 0.5 points to get the Gold but obtained the Silver Diploma level 10 (the highest level in the Silver).
More honours came their way as the choir was chosen to take part in the Hoi-An Cup, a parallel event that saw the participation of seven winning choirs. They performed with the Vietnam and Hong Kong choirs at the closing ceremony of the festival.
“For me, the comments made by the Hong Kong choir Plaisir Ensemble soon after we sang for the Hoi-An Cup, that our girls’ voices sound like the voices of angels and they were really touched by the singing was the highest compliment,” Sanjeev said.
The winning choir comprised Shiloni Abeywickrema, Chalomie Shanmugam, Thyasha Dissanayake, Salome Emmanuel, Sajini Fernando, Natasha Fernando, Ashini Fernando, Nathali Fernando, Sulakshana Fernando, Pemanthi Fernando, Nihara Fonseka, Rayushka Gurusinghe, Nabeela Iqbal, Sapthika Jacob, Chandler Joanna, Nathali Fernando, Keshia Kumaresan, Rachel Mendis, Tarine Mendis, Tehani Fernando, Madushani Nonis, Windya Peiris, Mihiri Perera, Sugee Perera, Shemendri Perera, Dilushi Piumwardane, Shamindri Ratnayake, Ravindranath Mayan Kishani, Ravindranath Mayan Koshala, Ashani Shanmugam, Rebecca Surenthiraj, Joanne Symons and Limasha Vitharana.
Choir member Rebecca Surenthiraj said after they heard the performance of other choirs they realised the level of professionalism at the competition. “However, we performed to our potential and to have received such positive feedback from other choirs was truly rewarding. We practised for about four months and during the last two weeks almost on a daily basis. It was tedious but paid off in the end. We have to thank Mr. Jayaratnam for bringing us to this level,” she said.
The students were also appreciative of the support they received from their Principal Ms. Shanthi Dias, teachers in charge Menique Fernando and Nilanee Tissaaratchy who accompanied the choir.