The Peterite Easter Cantata, 25–year legacy

The silver jubilee of the Peterite Easter Cantata, a thanksgiving to the Risen Lord will be held at the College Chapel today, April 16 at 7 p.m.

A choral tradition of the Senior Choir of St. Peter’s in symphonic harmony with the Peterite Chorale, a group of Old Boy Choristers, who have got together for the past twenty-four Easter Sunday evenings to celebrate the Resurrection of Lord Jesus.

This traditional evening of joy and thanksgiving owes its origin to the untiring dedication and loyalty of the Peterite Choral Director of the 80s and early 90s, Priyanthi Seneviratne.

Hers was a vocation of dedication and love in continuing a 50-year tradition of choral perfection. It was her brainchild to inspire the choir leavers at the time to continue their singing tradition which led to the formation of the Peterite Chorale – an inspiration to a host of other past pupil choirs.

Music, in its many captivating forms from plaintive Gregorian Chant and the symphonic magnificence of Palestrina to the hypnotic spellbinding romance of Rachmaninov, Chopin, and Liszt has been at the heart of Peterite leisure.

This eighty-year Peterite tradition of commitment to choral perfection has inspired the Peterite Musical Directors of the ilk of Noel Crusz, Jerome de Silva, Shannon Raymond, and Jehan Bastians to superlative productions such as ‘Oliver’ ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ ‘Evita’ ‘The Christmas Story’ and more recently ‘Joseph and the Technicolour Dream Coat.’

It is this DNA that produced Hussain Mohamed and Nihal Abeysundera, the prolific violinist of the 40s and 50s, Douglas de Niese, Tony Don Michael, Nihal Fonseka, and Fr. Claver Perera, tenors, Earl de Fonseka creator of the Sri Lanka Symphony Orchestra and its first Conductor, choral Directors George de Niese, Father Mervyn Weerakkody, Stefan Corera, the Founder Director of the Peterite Chorale and more recently Eshantha de Andrado, Jehan Bastians, Sanjive Dabare and pianist Neomal de Alwis has been the prime collaborator of the Peterite Chorale since its inception.

This same DNA has created a younger generation of musicians – Dilip Seneviratne, Yohan de Alwis, Ishan Denipitiya all versatile and imaginative pianists.

On the lighter and brighter side, the Gypsies, Sunil and Piyal Perera, the pop star of the 50s Bill Forbes, the star studded three generations of the Denipitiyas, Gavin Senn, the sensational saxophonist, notwithstanding an illustrious galaxy of other reputed musicians and singers.

 

- Mano Chanmugam 

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