[Blueboard] AWIT: The First Ateneo Chamber Singers European Tour

Lyn Catubig acatubig at ateneo.edu
Tue Sep 26 16:56:55 PHT 2006

The story of the Ateneo Chamber Singers must be familiar to many people 
by now: from 2000 to 2001, alumni and graduating members of the Ateneo 
College Glee Club embarked on two ambitious European tours, sweeping top 
prizes in major choral competitions and singing to enraptured judges and 
audiences in Germany, France and Spain. Upon returning to the 
Philippines, the group sought an opportunity to sustain the musical and 
personal friendship they had created during the tour. With the blessing 
of Dr. Joel Navarro, ACGC principal conductor, they formed the ACS in 
2002. Renowned choral music expert Jonathan Velasco, who served as the 
choir's guest conductor on their European tours, took the helm as 
musical director.
 The past four years have been fruitful ones for the young choir, which 
have thus far produced two albums, a successful US tour, numerous 
concerts, collaborations with the country's finest orchestras and 
choirs, and innovative projects such as the Advent concert series at the 
Church of the Gesù and a choral composition competition. Their unique 
specialization in sacred choral music has opened a richly eclectic 
repertoire to Philippine audiences, one that ranges from Western to 
Asian, classical to pop to postmodern, American gospels to 
ethnic-inspired psalms.
 Having established themselves as a formidable presence in the country's 
musical landscape, the ACS are now gearing themselves for the next big 
step: making their mark abroad with Awit: The First ACS European Tour. 
The tour, which will run from October 20 to November 15 this year, will 
see the ACS representing the Philippines in two important choral events 
in Saint-Lô, France and Tolosa, Spain. They will also be staging 
concerts in Paris and in Spain's Basque Region.
 The first leg of Awit will take the ACS to Saint-Lô in the La Manche 
and Basse-Normandie regions in France to perform in Polyfollia, a 
biennial international choral festival. With its aim of enriching the 
global choral music scene, Polyfollia brings together music promoters 
and some of the world's best and most promising choirs in a 5-day series 
of concerts, workshops and festivities. The ACS is one of only three 
Asian groups invited to this event and will be performing to major 
concert organizers and to choral music lovers from all over the world.
 The second half of the European tour will bring the group to the Basque 
region of Spain to compete in the prestigious 38th Tolosa Choral 
Contest. Tolosa is a well-known venue for showcasing new and 
groundbreaking approaches to choral music and performance. Winners of 
the contest also go on to qualify for the prestigious European Grand 
Prix, also known as the "Olympics of the choral world." The ACS is one 
of the most highly anticipated performers this year, as Tolosa audiences 
still remember the group's victories in 2000 as the ACGC.
 Awit will be followed by a trip to Singapore in the first week of 
December in a major event celebrating the International Day of Choral 
Singing (December 10). The ACS have been invited to perform with two 
other award-winning choirs, the SYC Ensemble Singers (Singapore) and the 
Vox Gaudiosa (Japan) directed by Jennifer Tham and Ko Matsushita 
respectively, at the Esplanade Hall for a concert showcasing their 
Filipino and Asian repertoire.
 The women and men of ACS are currently training hard for the tour, 
practicing ten hours a week in addition to juggling day jobs, families, 
and other individual commitments. They are also faced with the daunting 
task of raising funds for their lodging and traveling expenses abroad. 
Though it's a colossal project that promises little by way of monetary 
or even professional rewards, the members of ACS are unflagging in their 
enthusiasm and steadfast in their commitment as musicians, Ateneans and 
 Beyond the thrill of seeing the world, winning awards and gaining 
recognition, it's the rare opportunity to share their faith through 
music that inspires the ACS' spirit of magis.
 Send-off concert schedules (ADMISSION IS FREE!):

    * 6 October, Friday, University Church of the Gesu, Ateneo de Manila
      University, Katipunan Road, Loyola Heights, Quezon City (Mass-6pm;
      Concert Proper-8pm) 
    * 8 October, Sunday, Union Church of Manila, Rada corner Legazpi
      Streets, Legaspi Village, Makati City (630pm)

Any form of support for ACS' projects, monetary or otherwise, would be 
greatly appreciated. Contact their manager, Mimi Agbay, at 0917-8933379 
or through chamber_singers at atenista.net or mimiagbay at hotmail.com and 
visit http://www.ateneochambersingers.com for more details.

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