A Joyful Noise

Sunday, October 11, 2015

One day, when I was still in college waiting for my next class, I was sitting somewhere while reviewing for a quiz when I heard voices singing. I don't know the song but I can still remember how I felt hearing a legit choir for the first time. They were heavenly, like choir of angels. Even hearing them match pitch gave me goosebumps. That was when I decided that I'm going to join the UST Pharmacy Glee Club. I can't remember my audition song but I remember we had to sing the Lupang Hinirang as well and before we get off stage we were asked to mimick how our choir master clapped his hands, timing and all. I honestly didn't think I'd get in because I have no singing experience and haven't been part of any Glee Club before. Oh the happiness I felt when I saw my name on PGC's bulletin board. I actually got in! I was an Alto. My co-members were so good and I felt it was such a wonderful privilege to be singing with them. Here we are at our concert, ChoralwoRx held at Philam Life Auditorium back in 2007. It was a benefit concert together with UP Manila's Medicine Choir. Happy memories!

Being in Glee was the best part of my college years in UST. And that was when I was introduced to classical music. We were asked not to listen to pop music for a few months, if possible, and just listen to musicals and other choirs. That was when I fell in love with musical theater and how I got to know the UST Singers. Some of PGC's alumni even went on to be part of the UST Singers. It was always a joy to watch them perform. Their conductor Prof. Fidel Calalang always arranges songs for UST's annual choral competition, Himig Tomasino. 

UST Singers is a mix of current students and UST alumni. It was founded in 1992 by Sir Fidel as well. They always compete abroad and even holds the distinction in being the only choir in the world to have won the most coveted "Choir of the World" Grand Prize twice (in 1995 and 2010) at the oldest international choir competition in Wales, United Kingdom. 

I would watch them perform few songs when there are events in UST but I've never been to any of their concerts. They always perform and compete abroad and I always miss their Philippine concerts. But when I found out from their Facebook page that they're having a thanksgiving concert, I knew I had to go. Less than 2 weeks before the concert, I would call Ticketworld and CCP to check for the tickets. Siguro nakukulitan na sila sakin. Haha. I brought my brother Jed with me. He's part of Adamson University's High School Glee Club and a fan of UST Singers as well (because of me, of course!). 

The very excited brother. It's also his first time in CCP. He was all smiles when we entered Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo.

Took a photo of us while waiting for the show to start. Excited spectators!

UST Singers enters the stage.

After what is supposed to be the last song on the program, people eagerly shouted for "more". And they gave the audience 3 more songs. Here they are after performing "Tuwing Umuulan at Kapiling Ka". 

We don't know majority of the songs in the program. Before we went to CCP, Jed said he wishes to hear Piliin mo ang Pilipinas. We got a bit disappointed when we saw that it wasn't part of the line-up. But God granted his wish when after Tuwing Umuulan.. people shouted for more again and they performed Piliin Mo ang Pilipinas. Ang saya!

It was such a delightful song. And if you have no idea about Glee, you'll find that "dancing" is just as important as well. There are some songs where they have to dance and they looked so adorable doing it, like when they sang La Aporrumbeosis which is a variations on the Latin dance, rumba. If you close your eyes, you'd think everything was recorded. They were THAT good. Some would think choir or classical music is boring but let me tell you, there never was a dull moment. Their soloists were great, too. Ang linis ng mga boses at ang gaganda ng diction. Hindi kinakain ang mga salita. The soloist on their song, Banwar Iti Cordillera was good, I didn't get goosebumps--I got teary eyed! Haha. And she's an alto too. Such a rich voice. Altos represent! 

I loved their version of Gapas. It had a very good arrangement and I love the dynamics. All choirs can sing a song perfectly by the note, malinis but what will make a choir stand out from others is really the dynamics or the execution of the song, the style--the pitch or pace of a bar can matter and a huge part of that (or maybe all of it) depends on how great your conductor is. At sa dynamics talaga magaling si Sir Fidel. 

And their last song, Get Happy was indeed a happy song. The group surprised the crowd because it was actually a mash up between that and Pharell Williams's Happy. It was such a fun moment when their soloists got the crowd clapping to the beat of the song. The whole theater was happily clapping!

The happy crowd. They got a standing ovation after the show.

That was a really good night. It made me miss singing. My brother and I kept talking about it all the way home. I'll really watch their other shows next time. Who's with me? 

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