The month of love has arrived, and what better way to celebrate it than with music?
This February 14, the University of the Philippines Symphony Orchestra (UPSO) and the UP Singing Ambassadors (UPSA) collaborate in “Puso,” a Valentine’s Day concert that reminds us that not only is love tender, but it is also strong and brave.
The concert will open with the boisterous drinking song Libiamo, ne’ lieti calici (Brindisi) from “La Traviata” by Giuseppe Verdi before quickly relaxing into the lyrical, more solemn Intermezzo from “Cavalleria Rusticana” of Pietro Mascagni. A happy, playful folk song Katakataka will pick up the mood before once again quieting down into a series of tender, well-loved love songs: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s If I Loved You from “Carousel,” Hymne à l’amour by Marguerite Monnot, and I Believe (Quodlibet with Bach/Gounod Ave Maria) by Ervin Drake, Irvin Graham, Jimmy Shirl, and Al Stillman, with orchestration by Josefino Chino Toledo.
Sergei Prokofiev will come next to give a jolt of surprise and energy with scenes from his ballet Romeo and Juliet. The final number, Balikbayan da Box, will be a medley of iconic 90’s Filipino pop songs that considers a backward scenario: what if we are the ones sending boxes to our loved ones abroad? What could we put inside to remind them of the sounds and feelings of home?
Joining the UPSO in concert is the world-renowned choral group, the UP Singing Ambassadors. The UPSA has gone a long way from its humble beginnings in 1980. It earned eight Grand Prizes, 36 First Prizes, and other awards for the country and the University in 20 international choral competitions in Italy, France, Hungary, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Wales, and Switzerland. They have showcased Filipino culture through songs, customs, indigenous weaves, and dances in several goodwill performances in Europe, Asia, Australia, UAE, Africa, and the USA.
UPSA accepts students and new graduates from different colleges in the University. It is also engaged in socio-civic activities for the less privileged, the elderly, the sick, and disaster victims, who constantly receive its musical generosity. Dr. Ed Lumbera Manguiat is UPSA’s award-winning founder and musical director.