A Peerless Pearl – By Aubrey Joachim
Sydney’s Sri Lankan social happenings require a ‘What’s On’ magazine of its own. Every weekend sees multiple events – dances, parties, foodie events and the like. However, last weekend saw one of the best ever Sri Lankan social events.
An year in the planning ‘Peerless Pearl’ will certainly set Sri Lankan tongues wagging and social media on fire. The gala 30th anniversary dance of the Old Josephians’ Association of New South Wales was a cut above any event seen in Sydney for many years. The president of the Association Chrys Fernando and his dance committee worked tirelessly and meticulously over 12 months to put on a show-piece event at the fantastic Events Hornsby Showroom – Hornsby RSL.
The theme ‘Peerless Pearl’ was conceptualised and developed by Old Joe Kumar Fernando and his creative art director partner Liza Mortier who worked off the second stanza of the Josephian anthem – “Where the peerless pearl of Indies, Hides its glow on ocean’s breast , White and Blue is nature’s setting , To the gem she loves the best”. The Hornby Showroom was transformed into a sea of blue and white. Arriving guests walked into the foyer hosting a massive blue oyster shell caressing a pearl where their photos were taken. The men had a pearl pinned on to their lapels and the ladies a pearl adornment for their wrists. They then entered into the spacious well-manicured ballroom where the blue and white pearl theme sat as table décor.
The dance floor at the foot of the stage doubled up as a cocktails and canape’s area including tall cocktail tables. Old Josephian Duleep Fernando – an accomplished pianist all the way from Sri Lanka kept the guests entertained from the stroke of 6 until formal commencement of proceedings at 6.45. Following the opening remarks by the MC a well compiled video tracing the history of St. Joseph’s College from its 1896 beginnings until the present was projected on the three giant screens in the hall.
At the stroke of 7 DJ Shehan set the evening’s entertainment in motion. He would do two more sessions during the evening. The live band was Desmond de Silva and the Impressions who certainly created an impression with their well-chosen repertoire of melodies over their three sessions. Between 7 and the midnight close there was almost constant music for dancing and the large dance floor was almost always packed. A twenty minute dinner time slot saw Duleep Fernando on piano and Liza Mortier’s vocal talent combine to provide some extra ordinary cabaret style entertainment. Just before dinner the 92 Old Joes in attendance proudly sporting their old school ties sang the College anthem with gusto, passion and feeling.
The three course sit down meal was excellent with choices provided and drinks of all colours and alcoholic strengths flowed freely through the evening. All guests were included in the door prize draw where over $6,000 in prizes were given away – including a 9 day travel package to Sri Lanka courtesy of Old Joe Alex Fernando of Travel Glen in Melbourne and a return air ticket Melbourne / Colombo / Melbourne donated by Sri Lankan Airlines.
The entire event ran impeccably to timing from the start until the stroke of midnight. In his President’s address just before entree’s were served Chrys Fernando thanked all those who contributed to the success of the event including the guests whose numbers had to be limited to 400 in order to allow for spacious intermingling. Above all, as products of a great Catholic institution Chrys reminded us all that the success of the event as is anything in life must be attributed to the Lord Jesus Christ.
As the MC mentioned at the commencement “We do not do it often, but when we do it – we do it well”. Peerless Pearl will be etched in the memory of the 400 attendees for many years to come.
eLanka’s Neil Jayasekera provided live feeds from the event and video clips and photos will be available shortly. – Click here for several video clips of this great event!