• Manila Concert Choir wows Thailand

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    The Manila Concert Choir, led by Prof. Emeritus Leonor Magtolis Briones (center), proudly performed Filipino music for Thai audiences in Bangkok

    The Manila Concert Choir, led by Prof. Emeritus Leonor Magtolis Briones (center), proudly performed Filipino music for Thai audiences in Bangkok

    THE Manila Concert Choir (MCC) triumphantly celebrated Philippine music in Bangkok, Thailand at a two-night concert titled A Celebration of Music.

    Featuring a repertoire of iconic classical anthems, folk songs, and well-loved contemporary pieces from generations of gifted Filipino composers, the MCC performed to full venues on November 21 and 22 at the Srinakharinwirot University and the Philippine Embassy (SWU), respectively.

    Presented by the Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines in Thailand in partnership with the Western Music Department of SWU, the concert is part of the embassy’s Cultural Diplomacy Program, which aims to promote Philippine music and culture in the neighboring Asian nation.

    “After two years of rehearsals, negotiations and planning, we’re proud to say that A Celebration of Music was a success! We are very grateful to the Philippine Embassy and our host university for giving us the opportunity to share our love for singing,” said Prof. Emeritus Leonor Magtolis Briones, MCC president.

    “Filipino music was well received by our Thai audience. We didn’t know it, but “Anak” and “Dahil Sa ‘Yo” are actually very popular in Thailand. MCC’s performance of “Rosas Pandan” and “Tirinding” were also crowd pleasers,” shared Dr. Romulo Pizaňa, the choir’s conductor.

    The first performance had an audience was comprised of students, Haiyan [Typhoon Yolanda] donors to the Philippines, and friends of MCC, and was nationally featured by Thailand’s PBS TV News. The second performance was held at the embassy, where Thais who had studied in various Philippine universities were in attendance,” Pizaňa continued

    Speaking on behalf of his choir members, baritone soloist Pastor Segundo “Don” Espina, remarked, “Thailand is a wonderful country. The Thai people are a kind a blessed people and we were very happy to sing for them. The Philippines has a rich musical heritage and we hope that our Thai audience found our performances special and memorable.”

    The Choir performed Tagalog favorite“Lulay”, Eutiquio Solis, Jr.’s “Damgo Man Lang” and other local pieces. Fabian Obispo’s a capella arrangements “Two Ilocano Folk Songs” and Maranao love song “Mamayug Akun” were also part of the repertoire.

    To acknowledge Filipino appreciation for Thai music, the MCC fittingly rendered “Loi Krathong,” a traditional Thai folk song, and were warmly applauded for the very thoughtful gesture.

    Featured in the concert were soloists Annie May Espina, Paul Locke Torres, Aljerico Alcala and Jack Pia Bastes. Mark Oliver Olivares of the University of the Philippines and Agape Manigsaca-Labuntog of Silliman University and the University of the Philippines provided musical accompaniment for the MCC.

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