Parallel to the motivational expression of National Artist for Music and founder of the Philippine Madrigal Singers, Andrea O. Veneracion, “Just Do It”, the Sing Philippines Youth Choir (SPYC) Tour Group “did it” at the recent Busan Choral Festival and Competition (BCFC) in Busan, South Korea through the support of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Office of the President and the facilitation of the CCP Cultural Exchange Department (CED) and the Andrea O. Veneracion Sing Philippines Foundation (AOVSPF).
Led by Artistic Director and Conductor Mark Anthony Carpio, the SPYC Tour Group won the 2nd Prize and Gold Diploma for the Classical Mixed & Equal Category and Gold Diploma in the Ethnic Category.
Organized by the Philippine Madrigal Singers (MADz), the CCP through its Cultural Exchange Department and the AOVSPF, the SPYC was launched in 2014. To date, the SPYC totals to four (4) batches and 213 singers, from 56 local communities all over the country. The Sing Philippines movement brings to life National Artist Andrea O. Veneracion’s vision of a nation singing in harmony and united in songs.
In 2019, a tour group was organized from batches 1-3 composed of 36 singers who also underwent music camps and outreach concerts, the most recent one held in San Jose Del Monte City in Bulacan last July 18-23, 2022. The project was a continuation of the group’s choral training that began in 2019 in Batangas and Bohol but was forced to shift to virtual in 2020 due to the pandemic. The creation of a tour group and their continuous training was envisioned to include international engagements that would showcase and recognize their unique artistry to the global choral and music community through tours and participation in festivals and competitions.
Composed of thirty four singers from all over the country (20 from Luzon, 6 from National Capital Region, 4 from Visayas and 4 from Mindanao), the SPYC performed the following pieces for the Classical Mixed & Equal Category: Fest- und Gedenksprüche, Op.109: II. Wenn ein starker Gewappneter (Johannes Brahms); Draw on, sweet night (John Wilbye); and Jubilate Deo (Saunder Choi). For the Ethnic/Traditional category, they performed Tatlong Awiting Pambata: I. Ang Alibangbang (by Saunder Choi), Dandansoy (arr. by Fidel Calalang), and Three Kalinga Chants (by Nilo Alcala II).
Aside from the competition, the SPYC attended workshops and lectures conducted by two music experts: Bob Chilcot from the UK and Tommyanto Kandisaputra of Indonesia. The SPYC delegation also had the rare chance to witness the superb performance of the famous vocal ensemble from the UK, The Swingles, during the opening concert on October 19 at the Sohyang Theatre. Along with other participating choirs, the SPYC had a special outreach concert at the Busan Station on October 22, 2022 where they sang “Sing Philippines Sing” composed by Ily Mathew Maniano with lyrics by Joey Vargas.
Another source of pride for the Philippines is multi-awarded Philippine composer and former member of the Philippine Madrigal Singers, Ily Mathew Maniano, who bagged the 1st place in the composition competition of the BCFC for his piece entitled “Amihan”. There were four other Philippine choral groups who joined the BCFC and won awards as well: Villanueva Chorale of Misamis Oriental, Imusikapella of Cavite, Balanga Choral Artists, and Bataan Peninsula State University Chorale. Other foreign competitors were groups from South Korea, Indonesia, and Singapore.
Despite the geographical distance from each other, SPYC’s patience, hard work and perseverance under Carpio’s exceptional guidance and training since 2019 have indeed paid off. They offer this gratifying triumph to all their families, colleagues, friends, patrons and supporters in the regions and provinces where they come from and most especially to the CCP, CED, MADz and the AOVSPF.