Mar 29, 2010

CONCERT REVIEW: UP Concert Chorus 2010 Pamamaalam

This is a repost of an article published on Facebook by UPCC Alumnus Janryll Fernandez on Sunday, March 21, 2010.

IT WAS SUPERB! For a choral enthusiast like me and as a former Concert Chorus member myself, I have followed quite religiously the KORUS. And personally, this current batch is one of the best sounding, if not THE best sounding since the time Prof. Jai Aracama took over at the helm of the UP Concert Chorus in 1999. Its been over a decade since that changing of the guards and I guess Ma'am Jai and the Korus are coming of age...

I was pleasantly amazed the moment I heard their first song - Javier's Busto's O Magnum Mysterium, because just a couple of months ago, while exploring a possible project for the Korus, Ma'am Jai told me most of their members have graduated and that they are still trying to build up the choir. But as soon as they sang, beautiful poliphony filled the air of the Tanghalang Pasigueno and the excellent mature vocal quality of the choir was exposed. I guess the old members decided to stay!? There were at least 5 long time members in the current batch, most of whom were also in our tour batch in 96 and 97.

As tradition dictated, the concert was divided into three parts - Sacred, Filipino, Broadway. During the sacred music part,I particularly liked Jaglied, and Fidel Calalang's Pater Noster. The energetic rendition of Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel capped the sacred portion and left you hungry for more. There were instances though when I wished our batch's S1's - Ivee and Lydia, were there to sing with them.

The second part, the Philippine traditional music, featured distinctly Philippine melodies and harmonies. What made this more enjoyable was, of course, the choreography, which is the signature style of the Korus.The Maguindanao chant Ilay Gandangan I thought exhibited the Korus' musicality. The inclusion of the song Tatsulok, which was a political commentary put into music, tells you the choir is from UP. It talked about injustice and socio-economic stratification.The audience was awed by the animated performance of Manila, Manila. And for those who grew up hearing the APO Hiking Society (like me), listening to a medley of APO songs arranged by my kababayan Eman De Leon brought you back to musical memory lane especially when they sang Pumapatak Na Naman Ang Ulan which was was a part of our repertoire in 96 and 97. The audience greeted the choir with a thunderous applause when they started singing Panalangin and Mahirap Magmahal ng Syota ng Iba!

Finally, the third part - Broadway and Pop Music, which for me is what the Korus does best among all other choirs in the country. They started this last part singing Paul Simon's Like a Bridge Over Troubled Waters, singing and entering from the back of the auditorium. The closer distance to the choir only validated the crispness of their sound. Then they sang a moving medley from Phantom of the Opera. Oh it was classic Korus when they sang Masquerade! No one does it better in the land. And then the succession of up-beat rhythms with challenging choreo like Get Happy, Ain't No Mountain High Enough, and Rhapsody in Rhythm, just made you really proud that such obvious talent manifested in song and dance was there. But you can kind'a guess who the returning old members were during these numbers because the snaps and the sways were not as youthful as they were (and were a little tentative). But I'm sure when they come home from their US and European tours, we wont be able to tell anymore who they are!!! Towards the end they sang One Day More from Les Miserables which had the typical chorus ending - in powerful majestic forte. I would have prefered this as their finale and not I Believe, which for me was a little anti-climactic. The audience asked for an encore, and the Korus obliged singing Let It Be with Ma'am Jai joining the choir in singing to the delight of the choir and the audience.

Hearing the Korus once again was not only a delight to the ears and the eyes, it also filled and warmed the soul. It was high level cultural noursihment. As 2012 nears, its golden anniversary, the legacy of the UP Concert Chorus lives on.

Kudos to Ma'am Jai and the UP Concert Chorus 2010 Entourage!

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