Kammerchor Manila sweeps Czech choral contest
Kammerchor Manila (KM), choir of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish Church in West Triangle, Quezon City, took the music world by storm when it swept the awards in the 42nd Festival of Songs Olomouc 2014 of the Czech Republic.
KM garnered four gold medals in the Superior Mixed Adult Choir category (earning 98 points); Mixed Adult Choir (100); Folklore a Capella (100); and Spiritual, Gospel and Pop category (100).
With their three perfect scores, KM bested other finalists such as the Mesani Pevski Zbor Pomlad of Slovenia; Vocalisti Rostochienses of Germany; Temasek Junior College of Singapore; and the Mesani Pevski Zbor Svoboda, also of Slovenia, to take home the Grand Prix.
The Festival of Songs is the most extensive international choir competition in the Czech Republic, held annually in the Moravian town of Olomouc, where various choirs and voice ensembles compete in 30 categories.
Olomouc, the undiscovered gem of the Czech Republic, is home to the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra. It has been the seat of the Roman Catholic archbishop for almost 1,000 years, priding itself for having some of the most beautiful churches in Central Europe.
Founded in 1992 by University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music professor Fidel G. Calalang Jr., Kammerchor Manila was originally composed of members and alumni of UST Action Singers (the original name of the internationally acclaimed UST Singers).
Kammerchor Manila has evolved into one of the premier chamber choirs in the country with its tradition of excellent choral music in service to God, accommodating artists from all walks of life willing to share their talent and expertise.
The self-supporting group continues to share its gift of music through concerts, outreach programs and regular mass service. KM has participated in music festivals and goodwill tours in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, the Netherlands and the Vatican.
KM has joined prestigious local and international choral competitions, such as Voices of the World in Vienna, Anton Bruckner Choir Competition in Linz, Austria, World Choir Games in Shaoxing, China, and MBC National Choral Competition in Pasay City.
Last year, Kammerchor Manila won 3rd Prize in the chamber choir category of the 1st Andrea O. Veneracion International Choral Festival in Manila. Last May, KM received a Silver Medal award at the 2nd International Choral Competition Ave Verum in Baden, Austria, placing 4th out of 10 choirs which were rigorously chosen from applications worldwide. Baden is the great city of Mozart and Beethoven. Mozart composed his Ave Berum Corpus for the choirmaster of the parish of St. Stephen’s Church in Baden a few months before his death in 1791. Beethoven lived near the church from 1821-23.
On its 20th anniversary in 2012, KM organized a successful concert titled “Look to the Day: 20 Years and Beyond” at the Philamlife Auditorium. For the past three years, the group has been under the tutelage of its musical director, Anthony Villanueva-Go.
Starting young as an organist at San Bartolome Church in Malabon, Go distinguished himself by winning first prize in the 2003 Likha Awit Song Writing Competition. He was also a piano finalist in the 2004 Namyca, and best conductor for two consecutive years, in 2012 and 2013, in Himig Tomasino, the UST music fest.
Go is finishing his Bachelor of Music degree at UST under Dean Raul M. Sunico, also the president of the Cultual Center of the Philippines and Professor Calalang Jr.
Go is also the musical director of the Pag-ibig Fund Chorale and the UST Commerce Cantemus Chorale. He is a member, accompanist, and assistant conductor of the two-time Choir of the World, the UST Singers, with whom he has been affiliated since 2006.
KM sopranos include Maria Niña Lynnette Almendrala, Sarah Jane Amada, Ruth Escrupolo, Lea Katherine Famisan, Toni Rose Martinez, Caren Joy Mongcopa, Zobel Mickhaella Ramos, Roxanne Evette San Jose and Maria Dea Zuniga; while its altos are Carlo Cruz, Janine De Belen, Lori Esperancilla, Ann Janine Lomentigar, Mary Grace Oclares-Palanas and Diane Marie Tuazon.
Tenors are Immanuel Jay Avelino, Jeffrey Buensuceso, Vladimir Capistrano, Marlo Del Rosario, Renz Marc Marcial, Kevin Anthony Yu; and its basses are Mar II Agustin, Fernando Angeles, Jr., Junico Allen Herrera, Darwin Lomentigar, Warren Cris Magana, Joel Nalda and Arturo Paeste II.
A non-stock, non-profit organization, KM is composed of young professionals—who make up 80% of the group—and students. It gets support from the parish community and from overseas Filipinos.
It also receives donations from foreigners. Dr. Manfred Fischer, a noted nuclear medicine specialist and professor from Kassel, Germany, sponsored their performance in Kassel. He heard the choir sing while in Manila for a visit. “The Kammerchor gave a fantastic concert in Kassel, nearly two hours of songs and music, and the audience asked for more and more,” he said. “Before they left for their next concert in Amsterdam, they rendered their last song to say goodbye. We were misty-eyed as we bade them goodbye, while many from the choir were crying too, so much so that they were not able to sing really.”
Asked where they get the time to practice, KM’s president, Marlo del Rosario, who works full-time at Asian Development Bank, and Vladimir Capistrano, a real estate broker, said in unison: “Passion! Passion for music! For God and country!”
Kammerchor Manila will have a homecoming concert on Aug. 30 at the Philippine International Convention Center, CCP Complex, Pasay City.
Writer is senior vice-president of Data Center Design Corp. and executive director of the Maningning Miclat Art Foundation, Inc., which will accept entries to the 2014 Maningning Art Competition on Sept. 4 at the Art Circle Gallery, L/4, Shangri-La Plaza Mall, Edsa, Mandaluyong City.
Awarding is on Sept. 12 at The Art Plaza, L/4, Shangri-La. To be launched during the awarding is the book, “Fairground: A Literary Feast.”
For details about the art contest, check out Maningning Miclat Fan Page at Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/pages/Maningning-Miclat/47647085844?ref=hl.