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Sanjeev Jayaratnam does Sri Lanka proud at Asia Pacific Choir Games

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Most successful conductor with largest haul of awards

Sri Lankan conductor Sanjeev Jayaratnam goes on record as being the most successful conductor at the Asia Pacific Choir Games with his three choirs – Children, Teens and Adults –with a fantastic haul of one Grand Prix of Nations Trophy, two Champion of the Asian Choir Games Trophies, five Gold Medals and one Silver Medal at the recently concluded Asia Pacific Choir Games in Colombo

Out of the ten categories at the Asia Pacific Choir Games – two were won under the choral direction of Sanjeev Jayaratnam where Methodist College and ‘Noted’ (the female ensemble) were adjudged winners of the Asia Pacific Choir Games in their respective categories of ‘Youth Choirs’ with 88.25 points and ‘Chamber Choirs’ with 87.00 points.

In the latest Musica Mundi World Ranking’s – Methodist College is the highest ranked Sri Lankan choir, also ranked 30th among Youth and Children’s Choirs and 104th among the World Top 1000. ‘Noted’ is now ranked 28th among Chamber Choirs and 166th among the top 1000 – with the distinction of being the third highest ranked Sri Lankan choir. The Old Joes choir which competed previously is the 2nd highest ranked Sri Lankan choir – being ranked 108th in the top 1000.

However ‘The Revelations’ also conducted by Sanjeev Jayaratnam still has the distinction of being the highest ranked Sri Lankan choir ever – being ranked 4th in the world among Male Choirs and 94th among the top 1000 in 2008.

The other two Sri Lankan winners this year were Peshali Yapa’s Piccolinis in the ‘Jazz, Pop and Show’ with 85.75 points and Priyeshni Peiris’s Pestantia Chorale in the ‘Musica Sacra with Accompaniment’ with 82.88 points.

Sri Lanka did remarkably well by winning four out of the ten categories on offer and giving the nation something to be proud off with all the choirs from all participating countries standing up for the Sri Lankan national anthem while the hall resounded with the voices of thousands all singing together. This was a proud and emotionally highly charged moment indeed.

The Methodist College Choir also went on to become the Winner of the Grand Prix of Nations in the Youth Choir category winning with a phenomenal 89.7 points – the highest scored by any Sri Lankan Choir in any category which proved that they were indeed in a class of their own.

“I am thrilled at the performance of our choir, very specially because of the honour they have brought to Sri Lanka. I am really thankful to the Lord, for blessing us with the gift of music,” said Mrs. Hiranya Fernando, Principal Methodist College.

In the first part of the competition, the performance of the Methodist College Choir gave an opportunity to the huge Sri Lankan audience to stand up proudly to the national anthem – not once but twice. This was the only Sri Lankan choir to have this honour in the first part of the competition. Many Sri Lankan school children present at the awards ceremony with their respective choirs were delighted with the wins as it gave them a tremendous opportunity to show their national pride. Many of them thanked Jayaratnam and the members of the Methodist College Choir for making it happen.

In the second part of the competition, unfortunately, Jayaratnam fell terribly ill but was still able to bring out a superlative performance from the Chamber Choir ‘Noted’ which won a Gold Medal and became the Champions of the Asia Pacific Choir Games with a very high mark of 87.00 points making them very clear winners and the Best Sri Lankan Women’s Chamber Choir today.

Jayaratnam unfortunately couldn’t conduct them once again, at the Grand Prix of Nations Competition later on since he had already conducted ‘The Revelations Academy’ as well the same day and took very ill. ‘Noted’ had to perform without their conductor, but here too they performed very well and bagged a Silver Medal.

The Revelations Academy Children’s Choir also won a Gold Medal at the Champions Competition (85.63 points) and went on to qualify to the much higher level of competition – the Grand Prix of Nations category – where they once again won a Gold Medal (86.30 points), being beaten by the ‘Children’s Choir Alie Parusa’ of Russia.

The other Sri Lankan Choir to take part in the Grand Prix was the Ladies College Intermediate Choir which was placed 3rd by a very narrow margin after giving a very spirited and energetic performance.

“Music should be about moving people – making them happy, transporting them to different places, and creating magic in the moment. I was so delighted with the results. The singers had worked really hard and I am immensely proud of them all. To God be the Glory”, says Sanjeev Jayaratnam.

Jayaratnam’s choirs have the unique talent and ability to truly sing from their hearts and move their audiences emotionally, at times even to tears. This was witnessed in the Methodist College performance of ‘If Ever I would Leave You’ and Billy Joel’s Lullaby (‘Good Night My Angel’); The Revelations Academy Children’s performance of ‘Danny Boy’ and the phenomenal ‘Prayer of the Children’; and Noted’s ‘Olu Pipiila’ and ‘I Dreamed a dream’.

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