60 years of EU-PH relations honored through choral competition at UST 

The delegation of the European Union in the Philippines, the University of Santo Tomas through the Office of Public Affairs, and COMCO Southeast Asia, collaborated on holding a choral festival titled “Sounds of Celebration: Sixty Years of EU-PH Relations” at the Dr. Robert Sy Grand Ballroom on April 26, 2024. 

Seven choral groups enchanted the audience with Filipino and European songs, with Los Cantantes de Manila emerging victorious with the EU-PH Cultural Award after showcasing the traditional Visayan song “Rosas Pandan” and the German chorale song “Petrus”, a reflection piece surrounding the biblical Peter, with their conductor Mr. Darwin Vargas while the Ambassador’s Choice Award went to Minstrels Rhythm of Hope, Inc.’s performance of the Ilocano folk song “Pamulinawen”, and the choral masterpiece by Franz Biebl titled “Ave Maria” under the baton of Mr. Anthony Go Villanueva. 

Aside from celebrating 60 years of EU-PH relations, this cultural event was also part of the roster of programs celebrating the 413th anniversary of the University of Santo Tomas in April.

“Through this celebration, we aim to showcase the vibrant cultural heritage and musical diversity at the core of both identities of the European Union and the Philippines,” said UST Secretary-General Rev. Fr. Louie R. Coronel, O.P., EHL.

H.E. Luc Véron, Ambassador of the European Union to the Philippines, shared that the event “celebrates deep musical linkages between our regions and the importance of multilingualism in safeguarding our unique cultural identity and heritage. Music transcends language barriers, uniting us all.”

Performers included Himig Roseña, with their conductor Ms. Jarzinha B. Ines, who sang their rendition of Ben&Ben’s “Sabel” and the Finnish song “Kuka Nukkuu Tuutussasi” (Who is sleeping in thy cradle?) while UST Chorus of Arts and Letters, with their conductor Mr. Nathaniel Morada, presented the Ibaloi folk song “Salidummay” and the popular farm song of Basque Country, Spain, “Segalariak” (The Reapers).

St. Scholastica’s Academy Marikina Glee Club and their conductor Mr. Danilo Monte, Jr., performed the Cebuano version of the Lord’s Prayer, “Amahan Namo” and the German madrigal “Wohlaf, ihr gäste” (Well Then, Good Guests), the Wesleyan University Philippines Chamber Singers presented Ryan Cayabyab’s “Saan Ka Man Naroroon” and Domenico Mondugno’s classic Italian song “Volare” (To fly) conducted by Mr. Nathanael Arnel de Pano, and Rizal Technological University’s Himig Rizalia sang the Cordilleran folk song “Chua-ay” and a choral song and love story from Basque Country, Spain titled “Izar Ederrak” (Beautiful Star).

Witnessing the captivating performances were the NCCA Secretary Hon. Victorino Manalo, DFA Undersecretary Hon. Eduardo De Vega, and EU Delegation to the Philippines Head of Cooperation Mr. Christoph Wagner.

The competition’s panel of adjudicators included the founder and conductor of the University of Santo Tomas Singers, Prof. Fidel G. Galalang Jr.; the founder and conductor of the UP Singing Ambassadors from the University of the Philippines, Dr. Ed Manguiat; a board member of the Philippine Choral Directors Association, Mrs. Anna Tabita Abeleda-Piquero; and singer, songwriter, and artist Ms. Eunice Gatdula, also known as Huhsmile.

The University of Santo Tomas Singers, two-time winner of the Choir of the World Grand Prize – Luciano Pavarotti Trophy, graced the event with a special intermission led by maestro Fidel Calalang, Jr. 

02.JPG – H.E. Luc Véron, Ambassador of the European Union to the Philippines

Judges.JPG – University of Santo Tomas Singers founder Prof. Fidel G. Galalang Jr.; UP Singing Ambassadors conductor Dr. Ed Manguiat; Philippine Choral Directors Association board member Mrs. Anna Tabita Abeleda-Piquero; and singer, songwriter, and artist Ms. Eunice Gatdula serve as the adjudicators.

Awarding of EU-PH Cultural Award.JPG Ambassador Véron and Fr. Coronel present the EU-PH Cultural Award to Los Cantates de Manila and their conductor Mr .Darwin Vargas

Minstrels.JPG The Minstrels Rhythm of Hope, Inc. and conductor Mr. Anthony Go Villanueva receive the Ambassador’s Choice Award from H.E. Luc Véron and Fr. Coronel.

05 IMG_0841.JPG – The participating choirs with the adjudicators, Fr. Coronel, and the EU Ambassador H.E. Luc Véron

IMG_0542.JPG A special intermission performance by the UST Singers 

Himig Rosena.JPG – Himig Roseña

AB chorale.JPG Chorus of Arts and Letters 

St Scho.JPG St. Scholastica’s Academy Marikina Glee Club 

Wesleyan.JPG Wesleyan University Philippines Chamber Singers 

RTU Himig Rizalia.JPG Rizal Technological University’s Himig Rizalia 

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