The University of Santo Tomas (UST) Singers, recently named the Choir of the World Champion of Champions, held a choral festival titled “Amor y amistad” (Love and Friendship) to celebrate its 28th anniversary. Participating choirs, headed by members and alumni of the UST Singers, performed on February 16, 2020 at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo, Cultural Center of the Philippines Main Theater.

‘Amor y amistad‘ is an initiative of the choir’s founder and conductor, Fidel Gener Calalang Jr.. Alumni of the UST Singers who now have their own choirs also performed. 

The festival, with Mr. Frank Lloyd Mamaril serving as Director, showcased a new generation of choral conductors and musical talents produced by the UST Singers in its many years of musical experience. 

According to Calalang, “‘Amor y amistad’ is more than a festival of exceptional choirs… this concert is also a reunion. My dream, with a special gathering of the UST Singers, is to share with you what 28 years gave all of us and how our lives were shaped by music through all these years. I am proud to share the stage again with people whom I’ve loved more than half my life – the current members of the UST Singers and the UST Singers alumni in the Philippines, America, and Europe. Their existence is a testament of dedication and passion – a legacy that I hope will continue on.”

Featured in the festival were the two-time winner of the prestigious Luciano Pavarotti Choir of the World Trophy, the UST Singers under the baton of Asst. Prof. Fidel Gener Calalang, Jr.; UST Singers Alumni International and Los Angeles Vocal Artists led by Mr. Allan Diona Sims, UST Singers Alumni Philippines with Mr. Jessie Louie Singh as conductor, and UST Chorus of Arts and Letters and UST Pharmacy Glee Club following the lead of Mr. Mark Raeniel Agpasa and Mr. Andre Amistoso, respectively.

Also featured were Kammerchor Manila with Mr. Anthony Go Villanueva as Musical Director, Imusicapella under the baton of Mr. Tristan Ignacio, and Musikalipa led by Mr. Jayron Rezaba.

After the performances of each of the choirs, the eight groups joined together on stage for a performance of a medley of George Canseco’s songs, “Old Friends (from Merrily We Roll Along)”, and “Family (from Dreamgirls)” all arranged by Maestro Calalang.

“[Being part of the UST Singers family] takes time, courage, dedication, sacrifice, and faith. It takes love and friendship, and that is what Amor y amistad is all about. We share not only our music with you, but also our lives,” said Calalang.