by THERIZ LIZEL R. SILVANO
THE UST Chorus of Arts and Letters (AB Chorale), led by their conductor, Mark Agpasa, once again showcased their talents and celebrated their legacy in Gloria et Exaltatio (Glory and Pride) on Dec. 1 at the UST Museum of Arts and Sciences.
The harmonious coordination of the voices of AB Chorale’s members, alumni, and trainees first began to stun the audience when they sang Jubilate Deo, their opening song for the night. The spirited hymn is a song of gathering and joy that calls for tranquility, which the singers performed with vibrant synchronization. It was exquisitely sang with a mixture of dynamic and serene euphony which highlighted the sacred text.
It comes as no surprise how these performers won back-to-back championships in Himig Tomasino last May. The choir maintains their solidarity and “blends as a group” in order to be able to produce notable performances, says AB Chorale secretary and project head Rea Acuesta.
“We’re not singing as solo singers. We need to blend as a group because if not, mahahati and dadami ‘yung voices,” she explained.
The chorale has been rehearsing since August to prepare for the concert, which was staged to celebrate their championship last May and to showcase their 29 new trainees. The concert also gave honor and gratitude to their alumni.
Another elegant yet vigorous anthem performed by the trainees alone was Iddem Dem Mallida, a victory chant usually sung after a war. It was sang with a combination of rhythm, foot stomps, and shouts. The lyrics “inabak mi daida,” which means “we defeated them,” was repeatedly sung to emphasize the triumph of the Igorot ethnic group warriors in the 15th century.
Mingled with claps and high notes, the choir’s rendition of Dies Irae startled the crowd when the singers started the chant with mournful screams and bird-like shrieks. The piece is a reflection upon the final judgment as the opening verses express sorrow as felt through the mellow hum of the choir. In contrast, there is a note of hope in the middle segment of the hymn where they sang the notes peacefully.
After performing narrative songs, what followed were Christmas songs Joy to the World, Let it Snow, and We Wish You a Merry Christmas to rein in the holiday season.
A fine rendition of Minsan Lang Kita Iibigin also gave the audience a sentimental feeling for it was performed by male singers with their united honey-like voices and combined with the soothing hum of female singers. It was performed with a romantic and melodious tune that captured the hearts of the crowd.
The concert was yet another reminder that the AB Chorale consistently produces sublime performances to touch their audience’s hearts. Although the members of the group had vastly different paths to choose from, they chose to stay in the chorale.
“We stay because we love music and we love what we’re doing,” Acuesta says with a smile. F