Church choral group Kammerchor Manila wins grand prix in Florence
Kammerchor Manila (KM), a church-based and self-supporting choir from the Philippines, won the grand prix in the 1st Leonardo da Vinci International Choral Festival held in Florence, Italy, on July 11-14.
At this cradle of the Italian renaissance and Unesco World Heritage City, KM received a reproduction of “La Battaglia di Anghiari” by Leonardo Da Vinci made by a notable Florentine artist, and 3,000 euros for its win.
The choral group bested choirs from Australia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia, and other European and Asian countries. It won three gold diplomas in the mixed choir, modern and contemporary category; popular, folk, gospel, barbershop and jazz; modern ensemble. They placed second in sacred music.
Two special awards were added to their trophy haul—for best male soloist for Reyjhon Regis, who sang The Beatles song “Let It Be,” and for audience special prize.
Just days earlier, July 5-9, KM had been in Rome for the 8th Musica Eterna Roma and was chosen as a finalist for its grand prix round. It won gold diplomas for mixed choir, musica sacra, and the gospel and spiritual. It emerged as the overall winner in the mixed choir, the competition’s highest category.
Composed of young professionals and students (not necessarily of music), Kammerchor Manila is based in the Parish of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary in West Triangle, Quezon City. They serve at the Chapel of the Eucharistic Lord in SM Megamall, Wack-Wack Chapel, Santa Rita de Cascia Parish in Philam Homes, West Triangle, and the Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral in Cubao.
KM first shot to international fame when it won the grand prix in the 42nd Festival of Songs Olomouc of the Czech Republic in 2014.
UST Singers roots
Founded in 1992 by Fidel G. Calalang Jr., professor of music at University of Santo Tomas, KM was originally composed of members and alumni of UST Action Singers, erstwhile name of UST Singers (that in turn bagged the grand prize in the recently concluded international competition Ave Verum in Baden, Austria.)
KM has evolved into an excellent chamber choir composed of artists from all walks of life who, according to its musical director, Anthony Go Villanueva, “are willing to share their talent and expertise in the service of God.”
Villanueva, who studied Music, major in Piano Performance at UST, is also the musical director of the choral groups of Philippine National Oil Company and Pag-ibig Fund (HDMF); he also directs the UST College of Commerce Cantemus Chorale. He is assistant conductor to professor Calalang as well as accompanist and bass section leader of the UST Singers.
The KM sopranos are Maria Dea Zuñiga, Sarah Jane Amada, Queenie Adon, Christine Demillo, Diana Arvi Cadahing, Lea Catherine Famisan, Rochelle Tablan, Caren Joy Mongcopa, Maybelle Baldorado and Sheryl Lagundino.
Meanwhile, Janine de Belen, Janine Lomentigar, Diane Marie Tuason, Lory Esperancilla, Janine Agbon, Eloisa Contrera and Roxanne San Jose are its altos.
Of course, Reyjhon Regis is one of its tenors that also include Ronnielle Vhictor Nieto, Kevin Anthony Yu, Marlo del Rosario, Renz Marcial, Jeffrey Buensuceso and Arvin Garcia.
Raymond Salvador, Darwin Lomentigar, Wesley Agpaua, Arturo Paeste Jr., Donnie Angeles, Mar Agustin, Junico Herrera, Cris Magana and Joel Nalda comprise KM basses.
A concert is set on Sept. 28 at the UP Abelardo Hall to celebrate its silver anniversary with soprano Banaue Miclat-Janssen who is also celebrating her silver anniversary on stage.
The concert will be back to back with the 2017 Maningning Miclat Trilingual Poetry Awards. —CONTRIBUTED
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