Categorized | In Memoriam

Obituary: Gerard Puvinayagam (1940-2013)

Posted on 17 October 2013 by admin

RIPThis October , we lost another talented Peterite tenor, Gerard Puvinayagam.

Gerard joined Ford Rhodes after leaving college and retired to continue as a private consultant in the field of auditing and accounting.  After an education at St.Peter’s in the early 50’s, with his strong command of the Queens English he contributed to a number of local newspapers, The Messenger  and Peterite and church anniversary publications by writing articles on the history of music at St.Peter’s, and St. Mary’s Church Bambalapitiya, and past teachers, and musicians of his alma mater.

Gerard honed in on his talent as a tenor by having early lessons in singing from the famed music teacher of the 50’s, Spencer Shepherd. He was a prominent member and soloist of the St.Mary’s church choir which consisted of a number of other famous Peterites, Bede deZylwa, Prof.Earl DeFonseka, Dr.Stephen Alagaratnam, Fr.Claver Perera and other quality voices. The St.Mary’s  Church Choir received a number of accolades for its quality of  musical worship, and was much sort after for weddings and other occasions.  St.Mary’s Choral Group, which was formed by Fr.Claver Perera.  Gerard, Stephen, together with Fr.Claver, held the first tenor part. St.Mary’s Choral Group, had their inaugural appearance fittingly at St.Peter’s College hall, in 1967, in the very successful variety concert “Loveliest Nite of the Year”, and later walked away, almost uncontested, with the first prize in the first “All Island Choral Competition” organised by SLBC at the Ladies College hall and performed to a number of sold out concerts and had regular programmes on SLBC.  Gerard, was also regularly featured as a soloist on the SLBC air waves. He used to be a feature at the Old Peterites Club where he sang Neapolitan favourites and gutsy Italian airs.

His knowledge and talent in music took friendships to a higher experience, as he coached and mentored those who were keen. Those of us who had the privilege of hearing him, marvelled at the beauty of the high tenor notes that emanated from his slight frame. To those who knew him personally, he was simple, well read and always  enjoyable company.  It was always a pleasure to catch up with him when we visited our motherland.

Goodbye bye Gerard! Till we meet and sing again in praise of our creators.

Dr.Stephen Alagaratnam

Winnipeg, Manitoba


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