10 September 2009 | Eugene Boyko
Maestoso an orchestral performance organized by the Thomian Chamber Orchestra, to be held on September 11 and 13 at 7pm at the Russian Cultural Centre is sure to be a riveting experience for all music lovers. The first thing which strikes a person upon meeting the members of the Chamber Orchestra of S. Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia is the infectious enthusiasm and the passion they have for their music. The orchestra, which consists of 23 members aged 11 to 19 years, have been hard at work, preparing for this concert over the past few months.
Ephraim Shadrac, President of the Orchestra, explained that one of the main reasons for having the concert is to elevate their standards and restore the orchestra to its former glory. Ephraim, who incidentally plays the violin, said that recruiting new members and bringing in fresh talent into the ensemble has been particularly important over the past two years.
“I don’t think there are many orchestral performances with such varied genres,” said Secretary of the Orchestra and flautist, Shawn Abeynaike. “Especially with such young performers” adds violinist and Treasurer Yuwin Jayampathy. They went on to explain that the orchestra will be performing a wide range of music, from Bach to Elton John to everything else in-between. The show will comprise of music such as “The Kinder Symphony,” “Ave Maria” to more contemporary pieces like “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” and “Nadee ganga” and even a touch of jazz thrown in.
“These are young students, keen to learn music and the elements of orchestral playing as well as gaining the experience of working together in an orchestra. They are in the process of learning and the progress they have made is evident” elaborated guest conductor for both nights, Manilal Weerakoon. He also went on to explain that the approach one takes when playing classical music differs from the approach taken when playing light music, adding that the boys have learnt to play all these different styles. The audience will have the opportunity to see young people experience and experiment these myriad styles of playing, as well as enjoy the diverse selection of music planned for the night.
Speaking to a few members of the orchestra about Maestoso, it is evident that it has indeed been a learning experience on many levels. Both Si-Hua Chang and Ming-Hua, who play the saxophone and flute respectively, agree unanimously that practices have been fun. Bassoonist Sidath Nallaperuma declared that his favourite piece was “The Kinder Symphony” while Christian Sujit who plays the clarinet, mentioned that the drum beats and the piano in “The Croatian Rhapsody” was a particular favourite. It is violinist Sohan Pieris’s first concert and he adds shyly that he is excited at the prospect.
The orchestra fervently thanked Instructors Manilal Weerakoon and Dayananda Fernando and Master-in-charge Asanka Fernando, adding that they were grateful for all the support extended. With guest performances by the orchestras of Ladies’ College and Bishop’s College as well as performances by the students of Dayananda Fernando, it is clear that music lovers will be in for a treat.