The UP Concert Chorus (UPCC), one of the country’s foremost internationally awarded choral groups and the University’s premier show choir, brought their Filipino audiences to their feet with stirring performances of foreign religious, inspirational, Broadway and pop music, and of original music and classic OPMs, during their concert at the UP Diliman Carillon Plaza on May 5. The concert was their farewell performance before they embark on their 2017 international concert tour dubbed “Musikalikasan”, as they take the message of music and environmentalism to Europe with them.
The concert at the Carillon Plaza was held under the aegis of the UP Alumni Association’s (UPAA) Carillon Concert Seasons, in partnership with the Alpha Phi Beta Fraternity Chancery. This made the UPCC, also known as the Korus, the fifth internationally awarded UP performing group to perform in the series, following the UP Madrigal Singers, UP College of Music’s premier opera singers, the UP Arco String Orchestra, and the UP Jazz Ensemble.
The UPCC, which celebrates its 55th anniversary this year, pioneered ChoreoCapella or choreographed a capella, and won the Grand Prix at the 6th International Krakow Choir Festival in Poland on June 14, 2015, besting 23 other choirs from all over Europe and the US. Led by its conductor and musical director, Prof. Janet “Jai” Sabas-Aracama, the UPCC took the message of zero waste and environmental protection for which UPAA Lifetime Distinguished Achievement Awardee Ms. Luz Escalante-Sabas, mother of Prof. Aracama, has been an advocate. Ms. Sabas’s advocacy work, along with that of others like her, has helped lead to the signing of Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.
Ms. Sabas was honored during the concert with an original song composed and arranged by Prof. Aracama that drew direct inspiration from her mother’s own words on taking care of the environment. In another song, Dr. Ramon G. Acoymo, one of the country’s premier classical singers and creative, artistic and music director for the Carillon Concert performance, joined the UPCC in another emotional number.
Aside from launching the UPCC on its 2017 summer international tour, the UPAA sees the Carillon Concert Season as a way to generate support for the development, improvement and maintenance of the Carillon Tower and the surrounding Carillon Plaza. “We would like to make [this] a first-class venue for special events…at no expense to the alumni,” said UPAA President and UP Alumni Regent Ramon M. Maronilla in an interview before the Friday concert. He believes that special projects such as the musical performances being held at the Carillon Plaza will draw in sponsors and donations from UP alumni and friends. “Abroad and here in the Philippines, if the UP alumni see that we are having a renaissance and reformation in our culture and the arts like this one—and we’re presenting this for free—maybe they will help us. And this should be a big booster in our alumni projects and programs for the benefit of everybody in the UP community,” Maronilla said.
As for the UP alumni in Europe and other countries who will be treated to the music and environmentalist spirit of the UPCC very soon, Maronilla thanks them for their full support for “Musikalikasan”, the UPCC, and for all the UP graduates who participate in international competitions and events, “especially coming from our College of Music, where we have the most talented and brilliant artists in all aspects of our cultural life. This is what we want to really promote. In our little way, whatever we can contribute [to the UP Community], we will do it.”
The 5th presentation in the UPAA Carillon Concert Season was also supported by the Offices of the UP President and the UP Diliman Chancellor, and the UP Theater under Director Josefina Estrella.