Sri Lanka children’s choir wins at World Choir Games | Sunday Observer

Sri Lanka children’s choir wins at World Choir Games

15 July, 2018
The winning children’s choir team
The winning children’s choir team

Soundarie David Rodrigo’s, Soul Sounds Academy Children’s Choir from Sri Lanka has won a silver medal in the Children’s category and a bronze medal in the Folk category at the prestigious World Choir Games in Tshwane, South Africa. The Soul Sounds Academy choir conductors are Dinushka Jayawickreme and Amandhi Caldera. The Sunday Observer had an interview with Dinushka Jayawickreme to learn about her team and what she feels about their achievement.

“The students of Soul Sounds Academy Children’s Choir won a silver medal in the Children’s Choir category and a bronze medal in the Scenic Folklore category. I am very humbled and proud of their achievement as they have come a long way and learned a lot during this whole process. The experience they had at the Choir Games is something I hope they will cherish for the rest of their lives,” says Jayawickreme.

When asked about how she trained and prepared the children to participate in the World Choir Games, she said, they had been training these children since March this year. “There were 33 children in our choir, in the ages 9 - 17. We have been training with this particular choir since March, and towards the latter stages we had rehearsals four times a week. The children worked very hard, gave it their all and have improved immensely within these past few months,” she said.

Jayawickreme said they got help from experts in the field, including Francis de Almeida and Jerome L de Silva. “Our accompanists in both categories were Ramya de Livera Perera on Piano and Ravibandhu Vidyapathi on traditional drums. Ravibandhu was also one of the key people who helped us immensely in the Scenic Folklore category. We were blessed to have had all of them as part of our team. We are also grateful to the parents and staff at the Academy who helped us so graciously,” she said.

She added that the Sri Lankan choral music has come a long way in the past 10 years. “We saw so much talent at the Asia Pacific Choir Games held in Colombo last year. However, there is always room for learning and the World Choir Games had 62 countries represented and the standards were very high. It was a good learning experience for the kids in terms of discipline, musicianship, performance, tone and soul,” Jayawickreme explained.

The World Choir Games (formerly named the Choir Olympics) is the largest choral event in the world. Organised by the Interkultur Foundation for amateur choirs from around the world, regardless of their country of origin, race, genre of music or artistic ambitions, its motto is “Singing together brings nations together”.

The idea of the games originated from the effort to bring people together through singing in peaceful competition, showing that unity of nations through the arts can be effectively and illustratively demonstrated and challenged.

The focus of the games is on participation above winning. The games aim to inspire people to “experience the strength of interaction, challenging personality and community equally by singing together. The games are hosted biennially (every even year) in a selected city across the globe. Choirs compete in selected categories.

The 2012 games had 23 categories, such as “Music of the religions”, in 2016 there were 29 categories, among them “Senior Choirs” and “University Choirs.”

The games consist mostly of competition in two classes (Champions and Open), award ceremonies, and opening and closing ceremonies held at the beginning and end of the games.

During the competition, choirs compete for Gold, Silver, Bronze, or “Successful Participation” awards. Also, choirs may choose to participate in workshops featuring renowned choral instructors and friendship concerts, free public concerts where choirs share music with choristers from different parts of the world.

The 11th World Choir Games will be hosted in Antwerp and Ghent, Belgium from July 5-15, 2020.