It's said that music transcends languages and boundaries and for the past eight days we saw ample proof of this as choirs from across Asia and parts of Europe descended on the sunny shores of Sri Lanka for the '4th Asia Pacific Choir Games' held from October 21-28. 72 choirs from nine nations participated in a series of choral competitions and friendship concerts, that took place at multiple venues – Temple Trees, Nelum Pokuna, the Lionel Wendt theatre among them. The Choir Games was presented by the Colombo Cultural Hub Trust in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, INTERKULTUR and Dilmah Tea. The Sunday Times team was at several of the events during the festival.

October 23 – First Open Competition categories of Gospel, Spiritual, Music of Spirit and Faith and Youth Choirs of Asia Pacific Choir Games.

The Open Competition for Gospel, Spiritual, Music of Spirit and Faith unfolded on Monday (October 23) at the Nelum Pokuna Theatre. Among the many noteworthy performances that day were the Jefsi Choir, Indonesia singing "Way Over in Beulah Land" and "Be Thou My Vision" by the choir Contempo.

Held that same afternoon, the Open Competition for the Youth Choirs featured Royal College Colombo, Cantus Firmus Sanata Dharma University Choir of Indonesia, Children's Choir of Lyceum International School Nugegoda, Lyceum International School Panadura, KC Lights from India and the Senior Choir of Gateway College Colombo. The choristers of Lyceum International School Nugegoda and Panadura, Gateway College Colombo performed some popular Sinhala covers giving voice to local culture. The energetic and dramatic performance of the Cantus Firmus Sanata Dharma University Choir of Indonesia captured the attention of the audience.

October 24 – Adult choir, Folklore A'cappella and Friendship concert.

The Hangzhou Xixi Women's Choir took part in Tuesday's (October 24) competition in the adult category for the Grand Prix of Nations displaying their skill through their repertoire of songs that day.

For Grand Prix of Nations Folklore A'capella category The Paduan Suara Mahasiswa Universitas Atma Jaya Yogy Choir wore colourful gold and red outfits, complete with black tribal markings. Their songs showed diversity, alternating between slow and fast with lively dances to match. The Cantus Firmus Sanata Dharma University in red, white and black costumes also had an interesting performance with great tempo and interesting variations in tone and lively movements.

October 24 (Tuesday) – Friendship Concert.

Spectators gathered on the steps of Nelum Pokuna for the Friendship concert on Tuesday, a break from the intense competition. The concert, had a focus on children, and an interactive session which included performances by some of the choirs.

Artistic Director of the Colombo Cultural Hub Trust Soundarie David Rodrigo and Soul Sounds taught the other participating choirs a few songs which they all sang together. Audience members were invited to join in and everyone came together to raise their voices in harmony, transcending nationality, race, religion etc. through their common love of music.

KC Lights stole the show when two of their young choir members balanced and twirled two plates each – one on the head and the other on the chin. PSM Vocalista Paradisio UPN Veteran Yogyakarta's rendition of Lady Gaga's 'Bad Romance' was a great crowd pleaser.

Tuesday (October 24) APCG: Grand Prix of Nations – Youth Choir.

The two choirs who qualified to compete on Tuesday in the Grand Prix of Nations' youth choir category were Indonesian choir 'Paduan Suara Mahasiswa Unversitas Atma Jaya Yogyakarta' and from Sri Lanka, the Methodist College Choir.

Starting off the Indonesian choir performed a set list of five pieces, including Z. Randall Stroope's Conversion of Saul, a traditional Indonesian song with fans and drumming, and a rendition of 'Lady Marmelade' from the musical Moulin Rouge. The mixed ensemble delivered a visually stimulating performance whilst simultaneously showcasing their strong harmonization.

The Methodist College Choir, conducted by Sanjeev Jayaratnam, had a very large ensemble performing 'the spiritual song 'Music Down in My Soul', Lerner and Loewe's 'If ever I would leave you', Billy Joel's Lullaby , Clarence Wijewardena's 'Rahasai Sonduru Jeewe' and Jim Papoulis' 'Sililiza'. The choir's delicate rendition of Joel's and Wijewardena's song contrasted greatly with the more mature vocals of the Indonesian Choir giving the audience different styles to enjoy.

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