by Nanda Pethiyagoda
Kandy Vibes was a fantastic revue of song, dance, laughter, remembrance and felicitation organized by the Kandy Schools’ Past Pupils’ Association (KSPPA).The revue was staged in the grand ballroom of Waters Edge on February 17 to an overflowing audience who were fully in the Kandy spirit of camaraderie, cooperation and showmanship. Sparkling, superbly entertaining, fantastic, pure entertainment are some epithets that describe the evening to which must be added: memories, nostalgia, gratitude and acknowledgement of well known artistes in their numbers from Kandy.
Twelve Colombo branch past pupils associations comprise KSPPA (in alphabetic order) Dharmaraja, Girls High, Good Shepherd Convent, Hillwood, Kingswood, Mahamaya, Pushpadana, St Anthony’s, St Anthony’s Convent, St. Sylvester’s, Trinity and Vidyartha. In pairs, starting with Dharmaraja and Girls High School, Kandy Bash es have been organized and held in the CR & FC grounds starting in 2007. These events are sports meets with a difference, the difference being spontaneity, sheer goodwill, fellowship and no age limit! Consequent to the first Bash, the KSPPA was formed with a motto (United we Stand), logo and Constitution.
A need was perceived: a temporary hostel for students of these schools who attend events in Colombo, which necessitate overnight stays, be they all-island sports meets or Shakespeare Thespian competitions. Thus the motivating aim of Kandy Vibes to collect money for such a facility.
Seventeen well known persons whose secondary and senior secondary education were in Kandy schools were identified and invited to the event to be felicitated or to perform. Heading the list was Navy Commander Vice Admiral Jayanath Kolombage; Kumar Sangakkara, Muttiah Muralidaran and Iranganie Serasinghe. The film, TV and theatre artistes are too numerous to name; suffice it to mention, Sanath Gunathilake, T M Jayaratne, Chandra Kumar Kandanarachchi and Eric Fernando - a pioneer compere, Keerthi Pasqual. Sanoja Bibile, Nadeeka Gunasekera, Chandrika Siriwardena, Suraj Mapa, Roshan Pilapitiya and Duleeka Marapana.
Clifford Richard did an excellent job of compering with 31 items to be worked out and persons felicitated. The most touching was when past pupil and past principal of Kandy High School, Hema Jayasinghe, presented Iranganie Serasinghe a token of appreciation and admiration. It was very touching to see and hear Irangani’s acknowledgement. Bridget Halpe and her daughter, Harshini Andre, played a fine piano duet, while one item the final one had the history or social climb (or downfall as you see it) of a shy Kandy girl in uniform becoming sophisticated and coming over to Colombo to be western-dance-wooed by a Kandy old boy!
As the Patron of KSPPA and chief co-organizer of the event, Dineli Nugegoda said, the concert was projected to include past pupils, present pupils and the future success and continuity of this banding together of Kandy guys and gals.
For most of the song items by the artistes, each had present pupils of the school they belonged to, performing a background dance. You can imagine what coordination went into this with Dineli visiting Kandy schools that were sending present pupils to participate in the event, many times. Praised fully was the excellent drumming by the Old Boys of Trinity College, which school has a very old history of Kandyan dancing and drumming timetabled for the juniors.
The unsaid message
It may sound trite to say this but mention the fact I must: that in these troublous times of racial and religious conflicts igniting and flaring up, Kandy schools that catered, and continue doing so to all races and religions still get together and work cooperatively with respect and affection for each other; Not even the slightest trace of differences intrude. They are not felt, whether it be race, religion, wealth or status. That was how we schooled and that is how we continue to behave. For that alone, leaving aside the stupendous undertaking successfully presented to the public and funds collected towards a temporary home for Kandy students, kudos are presented to the organizers of Kandy Vibes, to all behind-the-scenes helpers, present principals, teachers and students who took part and of course all performing artistes.
It was a great show! ‘There’s no business like show business’ and none to compare with Kandy showmanship (with a more than equal number of showwomen involved)!