UST Paskuhan festivities with lighting, concerts commence via livestream

The University of Santo Tomas marked the start of its annual Paskuhan festivities with the ceremonial lighting of its Christmas tree and campus ornaments. The UST Paskuhan was held from December 16 to 18, 2020, with the theme “Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.” 

To represent the healthcare professionals who have been selflessly caring for public health during this pandemic and giving the light of hope for the nation’s recovery, UST Hospital officials, with UST Vice-Rector Rev. Fr. Isaias Tiongco, O.P., initiated the campus lighting with the press of a button. 

Accompanying Fr. Tiongco were USTH CEO Rev. Fr. Julius Factora, O.P., USTH Medical Director Dr. Charito Malong Consolacion, President of Health Staff Organization among Residents-in-Training Dr. Jojo Manahan, Chief Resident of Internal Medicine Dr. Shane Villamonte, Head of Nursing Services Ms. Aleli Cabaneros, and USTH Director for Administration Assoc. Prof. Analin E. Porto, DEM. 

2020 Christmas Concert 

Immediately after the campus lighting, the annual UST Christmas Concert followed in the same live stream. Usually held at the Santisimo Rosario Parish Church (UST Chapel), or in recent years, the UST Plaza Mayor, the concert was held online. 

In his welcome message Fr. Tiongco said that “Christmas and music go together, and the celebration becomes livelier when Yuletide carols accompany our joyful feelings as we await the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.” 

“This year’s Christmas concert featured a mixture of classical and popular Christmas tunes, and novel soundscapes, imagined and interpreted by the University’s finest musicians,” he added. 

Assoc. Prof. Peter Porticos, Ph.D. “Despite [being held online due to the pandemic], we would like to offer this evening of songs to lift spirits, as we have always done during this Season of Light. Let the Child Jesus be our inspiration to celebrate life despite adversities.” 

Due to its online medium, the concert was able to gather even the talents of UST Conservatory of Music alumni who are living abroad. Four internationally-renowned professional pianists, namely, Dr. Rene Dalandan, Marites Fernandez, Dr. Horacio Nuguid, Mary Anne Espina, collaborated across different time zones for an online performance of “The Marriage of Figaro Overture (composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, arranged by R. Keller).” 

 Highlights of the concert also included the performance of Dr. Raul M. Sunico, National Commission for Culture and the Arts board member, Klassical Music Foundation President, and former UST Conservatory of Music Dean. He played his self-arranged medley of Christmas songs titled “Pamaskong Handog ni Wow!”  Sunico also accompanied on the piano singers Rachelle Gerodias Park (soprano) and her husband Byeong-in Park (baritone) for their rendition of “Jesu Bambino/O Holy Night.” 

Faculty members Victor Victorino, playing on a fully-restored rare Spanish pipe organ, and cellist Dr. Renato Lucas collaborated on the “Andante-Allegro from Sonata No. 1 in G Major, “composed by Johannes Sebastian Bach.  

The concert also showcased two original songs composed and written by Conservatory of Music students: “Sa Araw na Ito (composed by The TonTones)”, which was sung entirely acapella by Sherwin de Leon, Heber O’Hara, Jasmin Nepomuceno, Kevin Pangilinan, David San Luis, and Carl Marius Uy, and “Pasko ng mga Tomasino” composed and sung by Mark Wilson Estrada, Harold Nikko Forton, Katherine Morales, Jumreih Cacal, Allan Bert Cortavista, and Airo Saret. 

Other performances included: The UST Singers’ “Mantovani Christmas Medley (re-arranged by Naldy Rodriguez)”;  The UST Symphony Orchestra’s “The Good King Wenceslas,” “The Holy and the Ivy,” and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”;  “What Child is This (arranged by Naldy Rodriguez)” with faculty members Mary Anne Espina (piano), Nenen Espina (soprano), and Gina Medina Perez (violin); “Magnum Mysterium” by Coro Tomasino; “Bituing Natatangi (composed and arranged by Ricky Sanchez)” performed by UST Conservatory of Music Voice Alumni; “Diwa ng Pasko (composed by Ed Parungao)” sung by the Liturgikon Vocal Ensemble. 

The Brass and Percussion Ensemble performed an untitled Christmas medley (composed by Paul Murtha, Paul Lavender, and Will Rapp, arranged by Gab Zagala, Joshua Cerafica, and Joshua Llave), while the Faculty Guitar Quartet played “Sleigh Ride (composed by Leroy Anderson).” The UST Wind Orchestra performed “Christmas Around the World (arranged by Jerry Williams),” the Woodwind Quintet played “Kumukutikutitap (composed by Ryan Cayabyab, arranged by Jedrick Itugot),” and the Large Ensemble Classes 1 and 3 sang “Jingle Bells (vocal arrangement by Stefan Karpiniec, musical arrangement by Jude Roldan).” 

UST Conservatory of Music Dean Dr. Antonio Africa, who served as the concert director, closed the concert by thanking the performers and audience, and by wishing the community a Merry Christmas and a brighter, happier New Year. 

The UST Paskuhan Concert 

After the annual Paskuhan Mass celebrated at the Santisimo Rosario Parish Church on December 17, 5:00 P.M., a ‘Concert-for-a-Cause’ with a mini-documentary of past UST PASKUHAN concerts and fireworks was held on December 18. 

 The UST Central Student Council revealed through Twitter on December 16 that local bands Lola Amour, Brisom, MilesExperience, Magnus Haven, The Ransom Collective, and Callalily, among others, will be performing. 

All the above-mentioned activities were available through live-streaming via the University’s official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/UST1611official. 

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