Held on January 30 at the UP Cine Adarna in Diliman, this year’s Gawad Pangulo Choral Competition drew seven choral finalists from the various constituent units of the University.
On its second run, choral competition awarded its grand prize to the second-time winner, the Makiling Chamber Singers, the sole representative of UP Los Baños which was formed in September 2015 under the leadership of Rommel Lomarda.
Other groups included the UP Serenta, the official choral group of UP Cebu conducted by Cathy Rodel, which was awarded the second prize. Established in 1999 and conducted by Louie Arelvi Villanueva, the UP Engineering Choir from Diliman, which bagged the third prize, is one of the finest college-based choirs in UP Diliman. The iChoir, the UP Industrial Engineering Choir Club in Diliman, which was established in 2010 with its conductor Ramon Miguel Abeleda.
Representing UP Mindanao was Koro Kantahanay, with its conductor Jessi Anne Nakol Aligato; it was established in 2001 as part of the then UP Mindanao Kombuyahan. Formed in 1993, the Pharmacy Junior Ambassadors of Music (PharmJAM), isthe official music performing group of UP Manila under the leadership of Alshamir Bryan Aripuddin. It is composed of students, alumni and faculty members. And the UP Pintig, conducted by Benedic Velasco, is a new singing organization established in January 2016.
Another feature of the contest was the performance of a selection, Isang Unibersidad, music by Raul Navarro and lyrics by Vim Nadera, Winning the best interpretation of the contest piece was UP Serenata.
The board of judges was composed of chair Prof. Janet Sabas Aracama as chair, and Prof. Edagardo Lumbera Manguiat, Prof. Ma. Cecilia Valeña, Mr. Arwin Tan and Mr. Rodney Ambat as members.
“Nothing comes close to a choral competition to effectively convey UP’s oneness of spirit and purpose in fulfilling its goals. The contending groups have regaled the audience with versatile vocal renditions that, even with diverse interpreters, resonated with an almost perfect harmony. Each has ably surpassed the benchmarks of musicality, technical competence, fidelity to the score, and audience presence,” said UP President Alfredo E. Pascual in a message.
In her message, Vice President for Academic Affairs Gisela Concepcion said, “as the national university, UP should actively lead in preserving, supporting and developing our cultural heritage, especially with the sad reality that some of our indigenous languages, practices and arts are now in danger of dying or have already been lost. Culture is a huge part of our national identity and we should do whatever we can to revive or reinforce our own unique traditions particularly in music and the arts.” (Stephanie S. Cabigao, UP MPRO)