|The choirs and conductors of Glorificamus Te III|
For the third time since 2015, some of the Philippines’s best church choirs gathered at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater) for Glorificamus Te III, a concert celebrating choral music and glorifying God.
In this year’s edition, the featured choirs Kammerchor Manila and Novo Concertante Manila welcomed guest choirs Koro Ilustrado, Mandaluyong Children’s Choir, and Minstrels Rhythm of Hope.
The concert began with a rousing number of O Fortuna from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana featuring members of each of the choirs with the exception of the Mandaluyong Children’s Choir. Also featured in this number was guest pianist Jessie Louie Singh.
The first of the guest choirs to perform was the Mandaluyong Children’s Choir, conducted by Sebastian Trinidad, with the pieces Dasal, Lux Aeterna, Festival Sanctus, and Awit Kulintangan. Their final song had the kids doing choreography from the south to match the song evoking the sound of the kulintang gongs.
Glorificamus Te III proved to be a busy weekend for Minstrels Rhythm of Hope and their conductor Anthony Villanueva. The ladies of the choir and Villanueva have just competed at the semifinals of Musica FEUROPA 10 just hours before and then had to zoom to the CCP for this concert. It’s not surprising that they included their competition pieces Caturong na Nonoy and Laudate Domino in their program lineup before capped their night with Isang Mundo, Isang Awit. Their busy weekend eventually bore fruit when they bagged 2nd Runner Up place at the finals of the Musica FEUROPA 10.
The ever entertaining Koro Ilustrado was next with the all-male choir conducted by Anna Tabita Abeleda-Piquero delivering a varied program that consisted of Kaksikpuhendus, Cantate Domino, For Good from the musical Wicked, and a very humorous take on Si Pilemon that served to remind the audience what the vowels are. And I think that it’s the first time I ever heard the slang word petmalu in a choral piece.
Almost taking a 180° turn was Novo Concertante Manila conducted by Arwin Tan. The choir’s program that included Alma Redemtoris Mater, Te Lucis Ante Terminum, Canticum Novum, Duerme Negrito, When I have Sung My Songs to You, and O Magnum Mysterium felt more cerebral with pieces really requiring my full attention.
Anthony Villanueva returned for conducting duties again with the main featured choir, Kammerchor Manila. The choir also performed a great variety of music ranging from the sacred to the popular: Exultate Justi in Domino, Magnificat, The Ground, Elijah Rocks, Kaisa-Isa Niyan, I Love You/What a Wonderful World, and I Believe.
The finale had the joint choirs performing together (except for Minstrels Rhythm of Hope since they still had a competition the day after) singing Magdiwang, Magpuri with Arwin Tan conducting, Aba Ginoong Maria led by Anna Tabita Abeleda-Piquero, and finally, Better World conducted by Sebastian Trinidad.
Five choirs performing jointly and separately in Glorificamus Te III was indeed a glorious feast for the ears. The variety in the composition of the choirs (mixed choir, all-male choir, all-female choir, and children’s choir) as well as the program meant that there was something for every taste. This concert is just another proof why Philippine choirs have been winning numerous competitions abroad making their mark worldwide.