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Sri Lanka Army

Defenders of the Nation

24th December 2021 16:33:28 Hours

Army Choirs Enriching Christmas Spirits Join Celebrating Yuletide at Nelum Pokuna

The Army Christian Fellowship-organized 'Army Carols', tuned by the Army Choir and the Army Band, heralding the dawn of blissful Yuletide, got underway this afternoon (22) at Nelum Pokuna Theatre before a gathering of Christian clergy, distinguished guests and military families.

The First Lady, Mrs Ioma Rajapaksa, Secretary Defence, General Kamal Gunaratne (Rtd) and his spouse, Mrs Chithrani Gunaratne, Secretary to the Ministry of Public Security, Major General Jagath Alwis (Rtd) and his spouse, the host, General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army, together with Mrs Sujeewa Nelson, President, Army Seva Vanitha Unit, Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenne and his spouse, Commander of the Air Force, Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana and his spouse, Chief of Staff of the Army, Deputy Chief of Staff, Commandant, Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force and a gathering of invitees graced the event.

Major General Shiran Abeysekara, Chairman, Army Christian Fellowship after welcoming the day's Chief Guest and distinguished guests amid fanfare to a red carpet welcome, delivered the welcome note. The opening prayers of the Army Chaplain Rev Fr Jude Sharman, Parish Priest, All Saint’s Church, Colombo 8 gave thanks to God before the gospel reading was placed before the attendees. Afterwards, the day's Chief Celebrant, Rev Fr Ivan Perera presented the Christmas message. Marking the birth of Jesus, the ‘Prince of Peace’, the whole spectacle included Carols, Prayers, Dances, Hymns and other features, joined by soldiers of all faiths giving a boost to the religious and cultural diversity of the land.

The Army Choir has been trained, this year by Brigadier Rohan Benjamin, Director, Directorate of Army Band and Performing Arts. Well-known and popular vocalists, including Corrine Almeida, Dammika Walpola, Mariazelle Goonathilake, De Lanerolle brothers, Anil Bharathi, Eshantha De Andrado, Umariya Sinhawansa, Rajiv Sabastian, Bathiya Jayakody and several Army vocalists sang odes to Prince of the Peace, Jesus Christ before the distinguished audience. Several Army vocalists sang Christmas hymns and added Christmas spirits to the occasion holding the audience spellbound. Popular Christmas melodies such as ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’, ‘Joy to the World’, ‘Once in Royal David’s City’, ‘Ree Tharu Babalanawa’, ‘Namo Mariyanee’, ‘Go Tell it on the Mountain’, ‘O Holy Night’, ‘Beth Leheme Ada Ree Upanna’, ‘Jingle Bells’, ‘Silent Night’, etc dominated the evening adding festive spirits.

This colourful and annual feature in the Army calendar of events that reminds the world of the forthcoming Christmas spirits where school choirs and private choirs along with popular singers rendered air, heralding the onset of seasonal greetings was conducted in both Sinhala and English languages. The event was also joined by disabled War Heroes, who enjoyed the musical talents of their comrades in service as melodies of the Army Band reverberated, enriching the singing of the choristers.

General Shavendra Silva at the same occasion paid his obeisance to Rev Fr Jude Sharman and Rev Fr Ivan Perera and extended his heartfelt gratitude for his presence on behalf of the Army. The meticulously-lined up grand Carol service was also joined by choirs of Enderamulla St. Joseph’s College, Good Shepherd's Convent, Members of Soul Sound and other guest singers.

A special visit from Santa Claus to the location added colour and glee to the occasion as he began distributing gifts among children present at the occasion. Past Commanders, Retired Senior Army Officers, Senior Army Officers, Officers, differently able soldiers and Other Ranks with their spouses were also associated with the occasion.