University of the Philippines Singing Ambassadors (UPSA), conducted by founding musical director Edgardo Manguiat, displayed its winning form in “Tunay na Ligaya,” a homecoming concert held recently at Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium at RCBC Plaza in Makati City.
The UPSA scored a grand slam garnering all the top prizes in four international choral tilts in Germany, Spain and Italy. They bagged three grand prizes, 13 first prizes and other special awards.
UPSA has earned the distinction of being the only Asian choir that has won twice the Grand Prize at the Concorso Polifonico Internazionale, Guido D’Arezzo in Arezzo, Italy, which they won first in 2001. As this year’s grand prize winner in the Arezzo, UPSA qualified to join the prestigious European Grand Prix for Choral Singing next year. The Philippine Madrigal Singers had won the grand prize there twice, in 1997 and 2007.
At the Sing! Berlin International Choir Competition in Berlin, Germany (July 5-8), UPSA garnered the grand prize and two first prizes in sacred music and mixed-choir categories.
At the 64th Certamen Internacional de Habeneras y Polifonia in Torrevieja, Spain (July 23-27), the choir won two first prizes as well as the Premio del Publico (Public Prize).
In Florence, Italy, at the 2nd Andrea del Verrochio International Choral Competition (Aug. 5-8), UPSA garnered the grand prize and five first prizes.
At the 66th Concorso Polifonico Internazionale Guido d’Arezzo in Arezzo, Italy ( Aug. 25-27), UPSA took the grand prize and four first prizes.
Founded in 1980 and composed of students from the various colleges of the University of the Philippines Diliman, UPSA has to date garnered a total of eight grand prizes and 36 first prizes and other awards from 20 international competitions all over Europe.
UPSA awed the audience, led by National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera, with their glorious singing. They sang a program culled from the competitions they had participated in.
In the opening religious songs, UPSA enraptured the audience with an ethereal web of sound that effectively moved the listeners to meditative listening.
In three sets of attire, designed by Renee Salud, Maureen Disini and Santi Obcena, the singing ambassadors further wowed the audience. They rendered their songs with matching choreography by Van Cornelius Manalo. UPSA was both an aural and visual delight. —CONTRIBUTED