UP Concert Chorus (UPCC) has won three awards on the international scene: 1st Prize in the Folk category of the Festival Internacional de Musica de Cantonigros in Vic, Spain; and the gold diploma and the Audience Prize (People’s Choice Award) at the 9th Cantemus International Choir Festival at Nyíregyháza, Hungary.
In Spain, the group sang “Kruhay” (Beny Castilon); “Pasigin” (arranged by Eudenice Palaruan); and “Ilay Gandangan” (Rodolfo Delarmente) for the Folk category.
The contingent had 28 singers and one pianist. The chorus, celebrating its 50th anniversary, was led by director Jai Sabas-Aracama.
In Hungary, under the baton of president and assistant conductor Emmanuel de Leon Jr., the group sang “Ama Namin” (John August Pamintuan); “Jezus es a Kufarok” (Zoltán Kodály); and “Ilay Gandangan.”
For the Folk concert, the basis for the Audience Prize, Sabas-Aracama led the choir in singing “Gabaq-An” (Ruben Federizon), “Pasigin” and “Kruhay.”
“At the gala concert and awarding ceremony, UPCC performed a tribute to the King of Pop, Eman de Leon, where it received a rousing standing ovation from the audience and festival participants of nearly 2,000 people from all over the world,” says Sabas-Aracama.
The group had performed in several cities in the US before joining the festival in Spain. From September to October, it will give performances in Switzerland, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Italy, Malaysia and Singapore.
UP Arco String Ensemble, after a struggle to raise funds, made it after all to the Festival International de Music Universitaire in Belfort, France.
It was the first time a Filipino group had joined the festival. Under musical director Edna Martinez, the group was composed of 27 students, all majors of the Strings and Chamber Music Department of the UP College of Music.
Before the festival, Arco performed twice in Paris, at Saint Bernadette Church, organized by the Philippine Catholic Mission in France; and at Unesco Miollis Building, hosted by the Philippine Embassy in France.
After the festival, Arco also performed in Geneva, Switzerland, at Notre Dame Church.
Robert Belot, Belfort’s vice mayor and the city’s cultural head, said the group “has fine quality sound, [is] technically adroit, and brought to the festival something unique and fresh.”
Arco’s repertoire included the Tsaikovsky Serenade for Strings; Serenade for Strings by Elgar; and Concerto Grosso by Corelli. Filipino masterpieces Rombino from the Children’s Quartet by Bueneventura and Buencamino’s Pizzicato Caprice were also performed.
“In its second and last concert at Belfort, the audience gave a prolonged feisty applause and standing ovation,” says Ruben Defeo, head of the UP Diliman Office for Initiatives in Culture and the Arts. “UP Arco had to reciprocate the warm reception by giving two encores. The organizers invited UP Arco to render another concert on the last day of the festival.”
University of the Philippines’ Department of English and Comparative Literature’s production of “Screen: Macbeth” was performed at National Taiwan University, Taipei, for the 6th Conference of the NTU Shakespeare Forum.
This production of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” premiered last year and features video projections as part of its staging, thus the inclusion of the word “Screen” in the title.
The conference theme “Shakespeare across Media” aimed to explore how Shakespeare had been translated in various forms of media.
“The production’s use of film fitted the conference theme superbly,” says cast member Ricky Abad.
The contingent had seven actors in multiple roles, with direction by Anton Juan; dramaturgy by Judy Ick (who also played Lady Macbeth); technical direction by Meliton Roxas; and video design by Winter David.
“The show was received very well. The organizers were pleased, and look forward to more Philippine participation in the future. The biggest achievement, I think, was that ‘Screen: Macbeth’ identified the Philippines as the Asian country that could do Shakespeare in English well. The acting was praised. It was deemed passionate.”
For details of UP Concert Chorus’ touring performances, visit www.upconcertchorus.org or call 9296963, 9818500, 0927-4284629 or 0917-6283739.