Sydney Bens’ magnificent tribute to Alma Mater
Posted by dougjay on August 29 2015 05:55:59
from Doug Jones
Superlatives are inadequate to describe the infusion of sheer loyalty, gratitude, devotion of alumni to the Alma Mater as evinced in the magnificent tribute to the much loved College by the Sydney Bens. Nothing seemed good enough to honour the oldest Catholic educational institution in Sri Lanka, run by the ancient order De La Salle Brothers (also known as Brothers of the Christian Schools) on reaching the historic birthday.
It was a unique event. As one first time guest said: “We enjoyed everything about it. The company, music, venue and hot and tasty food and the fine selection of drinks both non alcoholic and the wine... The service was excellent we thought. The best so far we have experienced at dinner dances we have attended.”
“It was a great night”, another added: “the best Bens dance ever that I can remember in the last 25 years.”
Such were the feelings expressed by numerous guests (215 of who packed the hall to the rafters) about the EVERGREEN - the Dinner Dance, held at the Concord Function Centre on August 22 to celebrate this year’s Sesquicentenary of St Benedict’s College, Colombo. Guests were treated to canapés and cocktails and other refreshments on arrival to the accompaniment of soothing live piano music and later, ushered to the ballroom to an aura of traditional green and white hues permeating the area.
A distinguished Old Ben was surprise guest of the evening – John NL Fernando flew in from Sri Lanka especially for this dance. John, an IT professional, was the first to introduce St Benedict’s College to the use of computers and still assists College with their IT needs.
A much appreciated special message from College Director Brother Janaka Fonseka was broadcast over the PR system and the Benedictine Spirit went on to prevail throughout the evening.
Youthful emcees Robert Almeida and Stephanie Pathinather welcomed guests as only young ones know how, making everybody feel at home and warmed up for an unforgettable evening.
Yohan Pathinather and his band Cazcade swung up the beat setting up the tone for the night. There was no need for invitations to get on the floor; they came on by droves. Cazcade was supported by Deejay, Shankster, who kept our guests toe-tapping throughout.
Sydney Bens’ new President Roshan Pathinather took the podium to great applause for his address and made no bones about his aims for assisting College in every way necessary.
One of the traditional highlights of a Benedictine function is the singing of the College Anthem, Boys of St Benedict’s by all Old Bens present. And this night was no exception. The song was rendered vibrantly and with gusto, as always.
Buffet dinner was followed with veteran Old Bens, Drs Camillus Pathinather and Srilal Silva jointly cutting the delectable, Sesquicentenary cake of green and white icing including the intricate College crest created by that versatile Benedictine lady Avril Almeida (wife of Ronnie).
There were silent auctions and open auctions for cricket bats – one signed by the NSW cricket team (the likes of Waugh brothers, Michael Bevan, Glenn McGrath) most of whom also represented Australia; another autographed by Sir Vivian Richards - as well as a Sydney Swans jersey. All fetched great bids. Of course, the raffle draw was popular as always. Among the prizes offered was a pair of pearl ear rings valued at $800 and Johnny Walker Blue Label whiskey as well as numerous petrol vouchers and cash prizes.
Dancing went on unabated until curtain call just past midnight with guests full of praise for an “unforgettable evening”. President Roshan Pathinather and the entire committee of Harold Christie-David, Sherwell Fernando, Jerome De Silva, Claude Perera, Yohan Pathinather, Esh Wickremaratne, Ronnie Almeida, Lionel Machado, Hynsworth LaFaber, Saliya Tennekoon, Joachim Motha and H. Ravichander for their planning and execution of a magnanimous tribute to College.