The University of Santo Tomas Singers, under the baton of Prof. Fidel Gener Calalang Jr., returned from a resoundingly successful concert tour of Australia dubbed “UST Singers: Down Under.”
From August 2 to 17, 2016, the UST Singers held concerts that received numerous standing ovations and clamor for encores in Melbourne and Sydney. The choir was the featured artist at the Melbourne City Conference Center in this year’s “Halo-Halo Festival,” an annual musical festival which showcases local Filipino talents. They also premiered as the first choral group to perform in the prestigious Australian Institute of Music and at the Blacktown Worker’s Club, with the latter performance organized by the Filipino Community Cooperative in cooperation with the UST Alumni Association in Sydney.
Incidentally, the year 2016 also commemorates the 70th anniversary of Philippine-Australian Friendship. The UST Singers was officially welcomed to Australia by H.E. Ambassador Minda Calaguian Cruz at the Philippine Embassy in Canberra and Consul General Anne Jalando-on Louis in the Philippine Consulate in Sydney. In her welcome speech, Amb. Cruz commended the choir’s mission to promote Philippine artistry and culture through music as a very effective tool in fostering people-to-people linkages wherever the choir concertized across the globe.
This initial foray Down Under marks the UST Singers’ 31st international concert tour and it has been met with raves and ovations. For their 25th anniversary in 2017, the Singers will embark on a grand world concert tour spanning Europe, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand.
The UST Singers was founded in 1992 by Prof. Fidel Calalang Jr. and has since represented the Philippines in 23 international choral competitions, garnering a total of 80 top prizes. Most notably, the Singers is the only choir to have won twice the most coveted Choir of the World-Luciano Pavarotti Grand Prize in Wales, the United Kingdom in 1995 and 2010.