Renowned pianist and Cultural Center of the Philippines president Raul Sunico will ring the bells of the UST Martyrs’ Carillon to open the 2012 University of Santo Tomas (UST) Christmas Concert Gala on Dec. 1, 7 p.m., at the UST Santisimo Rosario Parish Church.
Now on its ninth staging, the UST Christmas Concert Gala will again feature homegrown talents, such as soprano Rachelle Gerodias; Korean soprano and UST Conservatory of Music alumna Sim Sung-Hye; tenors Lemuel de la Cruz, Eugene de los Santos and Ronan Ferrer; and baritone Andrew Fernando.
Other performers are Patrick Packay, Nenen Espina, Thea Perez, Naomi Sison and Archie Lacorte.
Joining them are choral groups led by the internationally multi-awarded UST Singers. Other choral groups are Coro Tomasino, Liturgikon and Conservatory Chorus Class.
The UST Symphony Orchestra, under conductor Herminigildo Ranera, will accompany the performers.
Sunico, also dean of the UST Conservatory of Music, will ring in the night’s celebration by playing the carillon bells of the UST Church.
The bells have been installed in front of the UST Church and Fathers Residence in connection with the 400th anniversary this year of UST. They are a memorial to the 18 beatified martyrs associated with UST, including San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila, who was a member of a Dominican Marian confraternity and who was executed in Japan with several Dominican missionaries in the 17th century.
The repertoire: Medley of Filipino Christmas Songs; G. Caccini’s “Ave Maria;” P. A. Yon’s “Gesu Bambino;” G. Rossini’s “Air et Choer Inflammatus;” and “Salamat Maria.”
At the end of the concert, the UST Symphony Orchestra and performers will lead the audience in the singing of “The First Noel,” “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” and “Ang Pasko ay Sumapit.”
As in previous years, the night will be filled with traditional Christmas classics. The concert has been looked forward to not just by Thomasians but also by the business community, as well as the Who’s Who in Philippine society.
UST Rector Magnificus Fr. Rolando V. de la Rosa, O.P., will lead the UST community in welcoming the guests.
The Christmas Concert Gala began in 2003 when UST Museum director and then UST secretary-general Fr. Isidro Abaño, O.P., envisioned a musical concert that would bring together world-class Thomasian talents who would perform for UST students, faculty, alumni, friends and benefactors.
“We hope that this becomes the best of the Christmas Concert Gala series,” Father Abaño, who chairs the event with art patroness Maricris Zobel, said. “We consider this as the apex of the Christmas celebrations as it is UST’s way of opening the holiday season.”
The Dec. 1 gala is strictly invitational, but the preview concert on Nov. 30 is open to the public.
The concert helps raise funds for UST’s heritage-conservation efforts and the Conservatory of Music’s Scholarship Fund.
Father Abaño, who also chairs the UST Committee for Quadricentennial Special Projects, said other activities to look forward to in December at the Pontifical University would be the visit of Our Lady of the La Naval; the blessing of the Rosarium or Rosary Garden; and the traditional Paskuhan.