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“Let it be wala nang wakas,” said my seatmate to her friend as the University of the Philippines’ Concert Chorus ended their concert with an encore of the Beatle’s Let It Be, and of George Canseco’s Sana’y Wala Nang Wakas.

Even though it is very late already, I understand the sentiment of Ate, a Filipino parishioner in Barcelona. After all, it is not everyday that you’ll hear a celebrated choir from the Philippines.

The Korus (UP Concert Chorus’ other name) did not disappoint as they entertained Barcelonians, Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike, tourists and locals, in Sant Agusti Church. This was their 3rd concert in Spain since their victory at the Festival Internacional de Música de Cantonigròs, held last  July 19 to 23 in Vic also here in Spain.

UP Concert Chorus in Barcelona, July 28, 2012.

The Barcelona concert was in two parts. The first part consisted of the classics, folk songs, and Filipino pop songs while the second part was comprised of international  popular songs, and Broadway songs.

Korus, dressed in colorful Terno and Barong,  opened with Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Bogoroditse Devo Raduisya. It was followed by John August Pamintuan’s De Profundis, Jézus és a Kufárok by Zoltan Kodály, and My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord.

The audience livened up when Filipino folk songs such as Ruben Federizon’s Gabaq-an, Kruhay by Beny Castillon, and Pasigin, Tong song (Tong tong tong tong pakitong kitong), and Tuksuhan, were performed.

However based on audience’s reaction, this part’s highlight  was when the choir sang Roni and Gigi Cordero’s Hangang. Here is the clip from the concert:

Bogoroditse Devo Raduisya, De Profundis, and  Jézus és a Kufárok were the 3 chosen piece of the choir when they competed in the Mixed Choir category in Cantonigròs.

The first part ended with VST and Co’s Tayo’y Magsayawan and the Apo Hiking Society medley (Panalangin, Mahirap Talagang Magmahal ng Syota ng Iba, Pumapatak na Naman ang Ulan, and Blue Jeans).

The second part began with Juan Carlos Calderon’s Eres Tu. It was obviously one of the crowd favorites. Here is the clip of their performance:

Jose Rizal and Juan de S. Hernandez’s Canto Patriotico and Elton John’s Go the Distance which the choir performed in Castillano, were also well-received.

A  medley of Broadway songs were next. They sang songs from Applause! Applause!, My Fair Lady, Camelot, and The Dreamgirls. The crowd erupted in applause when Ms. Janet Aracama, the choir’s conductor, belted the song And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going.

An all-boys rendition of Glen Balaard and Siedah Garett’s Man in the Mirror was followed by Kirby Shaw’s One World, One Voice, One Song.

The 2nd part concluded with a tribute to the King of Pop, Michael Jackson.

Mr. Emmanuel P. de Leon, Jr. is the assistant conductor of Korus.

Even though close to a thousand audience applauded and cheered the UP Concert Chorus, it seems like the concert was really an intimate affair, much like a family reunion. Everybody is included in the celebration. I feel transported back to the Philippines during their performance – of familiar faces, familiar jubilation, familiar smiles.

Outside, there was a short drizzle during the concert. It refreshed the Barcelona summer night just as what the Korus did with my Filipino soul.

Salamat Korus!

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The University of the Philippines Concert Chorus (Korus) is celebrating their 50th Anniversary. This concert in Barcelona is part of the SingKwenta, SingKwela: 20th Int’l. Concert Tour from April to November, 2012. It started in the USA and they are currently in Europe. They will also be participating in choral competitions in Hungary and Finland. If you like to support the UPCC, feel free to contact them. Click here.

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