The Ladies' College OGA Committee was excited to organise the 117th birthday celebrations of the school on Saturday, 18 February 2017. We decided to mix things up a bit this year with an evening service, followed by dinner and an evening of fellowship in the Back Garden. We took a risk in choosing an outdoor venue, and indeed, in the afternoon it seemed as though the entire evening would be washed out by a chance downpour. Much to the relief of the Committee, however, it miraculously cleared up in time for the evening's celebrations.
The theme for the service of Holy Communion held in the Chapel of the Hope of the World was 'Unity in the Spirit'. The Chapel was filled to capacity and everyone seemed to be moved by the message of Unity which resonated through the readings, the sermon and the anthem 'Church Without Walls' sung by the OGA Choir. After the service, jars with candles were handed to the members of the congregation who then made their way to the Back Garden in a procession of light.
The Back Garden was ablaze with light to celebrate the occasion - from the magnificent old trees bedecked with fairy lights and strings of red and white paper lanterns that adorned the New Block and the Pavilion, to the sculptural candelabras on the tables which were enhanced by the candle-lit jars brought by each guest from the Chapel.
We had a record number of Old Girls attending the dinner - 650 ladies threw themselves into the birthday celebrations with gusto. Our President, Preethi Adhihetty gave a welcome speech during which past presidents of the OGA Committee were felicitated with a rose in honour of their contribution to the OGA and the School. A fireworks display delighted the guests and really amped up the sense of revelry for evening. Birthday cakes were given to each table and the guests sang a rousing 'Happy Birthday' to their School. 'Majesty' provided a fantastic soundtrack for the evening and most of the ladies enjoyed a dance with their batch mates and friends in the Back Garden. The guests tucked into a Sri Lankan buffet and some delectable desserts which were prepared by an Old Girl.
Perhaps the most wonderful part of these celebrations was that theme of Unity and of being "one family unbroken" really resonated throughout the day during the lead up to the evening, with members of the LC alumni really pulling together with the Committee members to make the celebrations a success - from Dushy Perera and Anila Dias Bandaranaike who transformed the Chapel with stunning floral displays; Surekha Amerasinghe who gave unstintingly of her time and enthusiasm to train the OGA Choir, itself comprised of members who juggled work, family and other commitments to rehearse for the service; Shamara and her team who prepared the delicious desserts; and all the Old Girls (too numerous to name, but you know who you are) who helped to wipe down the tables and chairs and lay everything out for the dinner after the rain which threatened our celebrations ceased. It is this feeling of being part of a family, undivided by age, ethnicity or religion that makes being part of the Ladies' College alumni so special. We can't wait for our next event!