Jun 15 2015. view 956
And their voices soared towards the Heavens....
The De Lanerolle Brothers in concert with the Trinity College Kandy Choir
As dusk began to fall on Kandy and shadows began to lengthen across the central hills that Saturday (June 6) evening, there was a hushed silence at the venerated Chapel of Trinity College Kandy as music lovers, guests, special invitees and students, all wended their way up and quietly took their seats.
The weather gods themselves held back their reins as the warm evening became balmier and we all waited with baited breath. The show began sharp on time.
The hors d’oeuvre as it were, to a sublime soiree was Sri Lanka’s internationally famed duo, the Brothers de Lanerolle – Ishan and Rohan – poignant rendition of ‘I come to the Garden’. It was deep and sonorous. It stirred our souls and set the ambiance for a perfect evening of gospel and choral music interspersed with well-loved hymns and songs.
Enriching the ambiance was ‘When the Lord builds the House” by the Brothers which led to the young students of the Trinity College Choir sing ‘Abide with me’ (with the audience joining in) and ‘My Tribute’.
Combining their collective vocal virtuosity and showcasing the profundity of their vocal range was the evocative rendition of ‘Holy City’ (Jerusalem) as the boys and the brothers literally transported the transfixed audience into another realm. And as their voices soared towards the heavens I heard an old lady whisper to her neighbour, “My goodness me ... this is Paradise on Earth”. Yes she could not have been more accurate!
This celebration was also a collective performance as the audience was invited to join in with ‘How Great Thou Art’ and “Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer”. The choice of these two hymns was perfect as they all joined in and sang lustily, with great emotion and from the depths of their hearts. In the audience I saw hymn sheets in trembling hands. I saw several eyes filled with tears, tears of joy, some quietly pouring down, as everyone was swept over by this tide of emotion.
And so as the evening chartered its course under a moonlit Kandyan sky and little lights twinkled in the Chapel garden, the boys and the brothers, collectively and separately treated the highly appreciative audience to ‘Look at the World’, ‘Wait’, ‘I don’t know why Jesus Loved Me’, ‘Reach out to Jesus’, ‘The Lord’s Prayer’, ‘I will give thanks to Thee’, ‘Hallelujah’, ‘I’ll walk with God’ and the hymn which gave its name to the evening – ‘You Raise me Up’.
I had the good fortune of sitting through the rehearsal that morning and saw how Rohan and Ishan in their customary charismatic manner took the enthusiastic young choristers of TCK into their fold. Here were two highly acclaimed professionals blending seamlessly with a school boy choir. The equation was just right. These teenaged children will remember this evening for a long, long time. They will remember it with great poignancy and nostalgia even when they are old men one day, half a century and more later.
Special mention must be made of the Conductor of the Trinity College Choir Lasantha Tennekoon, master sound engineer cum organist Neranjan de Silva and of course the musicians – Suresh de Mel on piano, Jonathan George on drums and Nesan George on lead guitar who contributed in no small measure to the success of the evening.
A tangible index of the success of the evening was also the fact that in the audience were very many people from Colombo who had journeyed up to Kandy for the weekend just to be a part of this concert - Such was the attraction.
This reviewer fervently hopes that the Brothers de Lanerolle will join hands with other such school choirs in Sri Lanka in similar concerts. Not only will it give our young boys and girls exposure and experience, but above all, it will inspire them to convince themselves that they too can make it big one day, just as Rohan and Ishan have done.
"We could not make it to the Chapel but since our house is just beneath it, we sat on our front porch and still felt the passion and the intensity. Soul stirring experience indeed.” - Anne-Marie and Sarath Bulathsinghala
"This was a great and memorable performance by world renowned professionals. They brought out the best in the College choir." - Andre Rodrigo
"The Brothers were amazing. They all blended very well together. I loved every minute of it, especially “You Raise Me Up” and ‘Hallelujah’." - Awishka Peries (of the Trinity College Cadet Band)
"This was a great show with some fabulous singing. We wish Kandy has more concerts of this nature." - Chamindri and Chanaka Nanayakkara
“It was really good and something different for Kandy. We need more of this kind of music, which is not readily available here in Kandy” - Yoshitha Dharmasena
"It was a soul-inspiring evening and easy on the ear. A complete show from beginning to end." - Aldo Perera
"The audience was very receptive to this one hour and fifteen minute excellent show with its amazing harmony. Music like this certainly makes the world a better place to live in." - Charmaine and Ayesha Paiva
Reviewed by Kumar de Silva