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UST Singers conquer Spain, Macau

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NOVO Concertante Manila wins grand prize in international choir competition in Thailand.

They came. They performed. They conquered.

This summarizes the UST Singers’ tour of Spain upon the invitation of Philippine Ambassador Carlos C. Salinas.

Composed of 27 students and alumni of the University of Sto. Tomas, the UST Singers, under the baton of Fidel Calalang Jr., were in Spain from June 6 to 20.

They performed a program that had universal content and message, said Calalang. It was “easy for people to understand, to feel the sentiments of the Filipinos, and we can relate to people of different nations, through our songs. Our music is for everyone,” he added.

The concert-tour was launched at San Salvador Cathedral at Jerez de la Frontera in Andalucia on June 7. The following day, they performed a concert in the historic Oratorio de San Felipe in Neri, Cadiz.

The Cadiz concert was organized by the Philippine Embassy as part of its participation in the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the signing of the Cadiz Constitution of 1812.

UST SINGERS’ choral director Fidel Calalang and Ambassador Carlos Salinas.

The Philippines, then an overseas colony of Spain, was represented in the Spanish Cortes, which drafted and signed the constitution by Ventura de los Reyes, a Filipino businessman from the Ilocos.

The choir also performed in other places such as Seville, Marbella, Palencia and Carrion de los Condes. The latter is the birthplace of Fr. Miguel de Benavides, OP, founder of UST.

The choir capped its tour with a concert in Madrid, where they performed in the prestigious Auditorio Conde Duque on June 19.

In all venues, the UST Singers reaped acclaim.

The UST Singers’ concert-tour was made possible by the assistance of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Filipino communities in Madrid and Marbella.

Special performance

From Spain, the UST Singers went to Macau and performed at the Venetian Hotel on June 23. Their performance highlighted the Philippines’ commitment to the 2012-2013 Philippine-China Year of Friendly Exchanges.

The special performance, said Calalang, was titled “Comemorar: Philippines Sings for Macau!”

The theater, said Calalang, was jam-packed with over a thousand people. The UST Singers rendered a bouquet of religious, international, Filipino and Broadway songs.

The performance was “warmly welcomed,” announced TDM, a local television that covered the event.

Calalang said he hoped the UST Singers could perform again in Macau.

Their Macau concert was made possible through the efforts of  the Philippine Consulate General in Macau, Venetian Hotel Yun Yi Arts, and Cultural Communication Association of Macau.

Another winning chorus

The UST Singers pose at the Spanish Square in Sevilla.

The Novo Concertante Manila, conducted by Arwin Tan, added to the success of Filipino choirs in the international choral scene.

Competing in the inaugural 2012 Asia Cantate International Choral Competition held in Phuket, Thailand, July 15-18, it was awarded the grand prize, besting choirs from China, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

The choirs competed for six categories: Mixed Choir, Equal Voices Choir, Children’s Choir, Chamber Choir, Senior Choir and Folklore.

Novo Concertante won both the Folklore and the Chamber Choir categories.

Category winners competed for the grand prize: Beijing Renmin University Chidren’s Choir, St. Louis High School Choir from Indonesia, MiYun Youth Choir from China, Klang Chamber Choir from Malaysia and Novo Concertante.

Klang was awarded first runner-up.

Novo Concertante got the only Gold A rating in the entire competition.

For rendering Eudenice Palaruan’s arrangement of the T’boli song “Koyu no Tebulul,” Novo Concertante also received the Voice of Asia Award for the Best Interpretation of an Asian Composition.

Tan was declared Most Outstanding Conductor.

Aside from Novo Concertante, the Philippines was represented by the Mandaluyong Children’s Choir, which was declared winner in the Open Equal Voices Category with a Silver B Medal. It also won a Gold C in Folklore and a Silver B in the Chamber Choir.

Novo Concertante Manila was originally formed as a recital choir. Its members, composed of music-lovers from all walks of life, reinvent themselves continuously while developing a sound that is artistically intelligent.

In February 2009 and 2010, the choir was honored with the Ani ng Dangal Award from the NCCA for winning in international competitions, such as the 46th Internationaler Chorwettbewerb in Spittal an der Drau, Austria, and the LV Certamen Internacional de Habaneras y Polifonia in Torrevieja, Spain, both in 2009.

Previously, it got the grand prize in the Voyage of Songs International Choral Competition in Genting Highlands, Malaysia (2003).


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