THE MUSICAL excellence of the UST Chorus of Arts and Letters (AB Chorale) that withstood the test of time was celebrated during their 20th anniversary concert dubbed Con Bravura last June 19.
The elegantly clad alumni and current members of AB Chorale demonstrated their group’s musical journey through an interesting contrast of old and new songs and the captivating unity of voices that seemed to wind around each other until they intertwined as one—creating music that is solid and fluid at the same time.
The chorale’s rendition of Isang Linggong Pag-ibig was a remarkable performance. It added a contemporary twist to the Filipino classic as comical side comments adorned the popular lines of the song. While the aforementioned sent the audience giggling, the choir’s chilling performance of Kailangan Kita had them gripping their seats.
A familiar song that froze the already enthralled crowd became the highlight of the concert. When the lines of Les Miserables’ One Day More were delivered with clarity and the chorus was sung powerfully, the audience experienced a whole new level of awe. Aside from the singers’ breathtaking voices, smiles and clicking sounds of cameras filled the UST Museum as it was a moment that one would want to cherish forever.
Thunderous applause saluted every song and the audience kept crying for encore after encore even after Circle of Life—supposedly the last song.
Outgoing AB Chorale President Dwight Manalastas said the concert represented the choir’s plan to “boldly face the future.”
“We don’t know what’s in store for the choir… But we’re willing to take risks para lang ma-continue ‘yung legacy na [nasimulan] 20 years ago,” Manalastas said.
He added that the musical excellence of AB Chorale for 20 years is passed down to the new generation of singers “in a different way, [through] different songs [and] different genres.”
The concert also celebrated the arrival of the chorale’s new conductor, Mark Agpasa, who led the choir to a podium finish in the Himig Tomasino 2016. The choir, which earned several runner-up places over the years, has not been named as champion since 1997.
Although the enthralling performances that swept the crowd away seemed to have been effortlessly presented by the award-winning singers, incoming AB Chorale President Niccolo Ventenilla in his closing remarks said that the concert was born out of weeks of late night rehearsals.
“[M]usic to us is not just a hobby. It’s an expression. It’s an outlet of the soul, and through music, we can express everything that we cannot say through words,” Ventenilla said. F CHARISSA MAE M. NEMIS