by SAMANTHA ARGONZA
ENTERING a new decade challenged by numerous natural calamities and a pandemic temporarily halting live events, Artlets have redefined their concept of home as the yuletide season is now fast approaching.
In an attempt to restrengthen the value of home, UST Chorus of Arts and Letters (AB Chorale), along with other five choirs, united in harmony during a virtual Christmas presentation last December 1 titled Himig ng Pasko: Paskong Pasko Na Talaga.
AB Chorale collaborated with pioneer members from UST Senior High School Chorale, Marriage Encounter Foundation of the Philippines Chorale South Cluster, Lagablab ng Espiritu Santo Chorale, and Pag-IBIG Fund Chorale.
Overseeing this by their musical director, Mark Raeniel Agpasa, the event greeted Artlets with the heartening musical composition, Paskong Pasko na Talaga by Arnel De Pano to commence the spirit of Christmas.
The performance lasted for about three minutes allowing listeners to contemplate what Christmas means for them. It is accompanied by piano, bells, chimes, and lyre that emulates a graduating warmth in the atmosphere.
“In our theme for this year’s Christmas season, we ought to bring the aura of Christmas warmth [on] a chilly night as we sing our way from our homes to yours,” AB Chorale’s assistant tenor head and public relations officer Ponprom Punpinij said through an online interview.
The music brought togetherness and dynamism even through a computer-mediated setting. Through the inviting and serene voices of the choirs, it packed the hearts of listeners with a hopeful mood. As part of the featured music, the distinct shouts of “Pasko na talaga!” heard in the performance signifies the exciting, energetic, and joyous cheers during holidays.
“The thing about choral music is the necessity of unity that makes the song beautiful,” Agpasa said in the introduction of their performance.
It is also a reunion for the choirs as they are composed of former members who moved onto different colleges and universities and singing groups.
Agpasa added, “Choral music, especially now in these virtual times, reminds us that no matter how physically far apart we may be, we are never alone […] We are one because of the music that binds us.”
The choir has been dealing with a lack of resources and rehearsals. This makes unifying all the voices in balance virtually, a strenuous task. Despite all their challenges, Punpinij says that “As we are faced with the ‘new normal,’ this couldn’t stop us from doing what we love […] We prepared this event as a whole in a way that brings the spirit of Christmas into all our homes as we remain to acknowledge that this Christmas is different for everyone and that we have our struggles, especially with the recent events in our country.”
They overcame the limitations as all trainees and members contributed their time and effort to make this virtual event possible.
“We realized the massive amount of support from everyone in the community and receiving such support alone is big enough a gain for us in ABC,” Punpinij said.
Before 2020 ends, the repertoire for AB Chorale’s December has included several virtual performances. This includes individual performances from the members and their chorale alumni. The carefully selected music covers per day encompass various kinds of rhythms, tones, and feelings that express their own perspectives on Christmas.
“This Christmas season may be a little different, but we are here to bring the spirit of Christmas into your homes and rekindle the holiday warmth as we sing Christmas songs all month long,” Punpinij said as he contemplated their concept.
Agpasa shares this sentiment, as the choir seeks to provide comfort to those who have difficulty coping with this year’s holiday season.
“We want to lessen the sadness in your hearts through the best way we know how – music. […] Together in harmony, we let the joy and excitement of Christmas fill our hearts,” Agpasa said. F