Barcelona, Wednesday, 8 October 2003 16:34:17
The Loboc Children's Choir (LCC) from the island of Bohol, the Philippines, garnered two major awards at the recently concluded Europe and its Songs 6th International Folksong Choir Festival, which was held this year in Barcelona, Spain, from September 17 to 21, 2003.
This feat was received with great adulation and admiration from an overwhelmingly impressed audience of hundreds of mostly European singers from thirteen competing choirs. The LCC rated 97.5 points which earned it the First prize with a Gold Medal in the Children's Choir category. The international jury likewise awarded the Loboc Children's Choir the Europe and its Songs 2003 Cup for having achieved the overall highest mark in all categories, surpassing the marks of twelve other international choirs.
The other Gold Winners included the female choir Flora Choir of Abo Akademi University from Finland, which earned 95.5 points; the small mixed choir ensemble Klapa Kastav from Croatia with 95 points, and the male adult choir Chorgruppe Lohner from Germany with 90 points.
The Europe and its Songs Festival 2003 is on its sixth year and has been organized by Associazone Internazionale Amici Della Musica Sacra or the International Association of Friends of Sacred Music, which has its headquarters based in Rome, Italy. This association is headed by its president Dr. Hans Albert Courtial. The 2003 International Jury is composed of Jury President Michael Rinscheld, German choir director; Manuel Cabero, choir master of the Church of Santa Maria del Pi and director of the Educational Sciences University Choir of Barcelona; Kalman Strausz, chapel master and director of the Broadcast Choir from Budapest, Hungary; and Gerold Engelhart, music director FDB Germany.
In all categories (based on number and voice classifications) the repertoire must include a capella folksongs. The choirs should perform at least one folksong of their country of origin and one European folksong. All songs have to be performed in their original language. The length of the performance must be minimum 12 minutes and maximum 20 minutes. The assessment criteria include both technique and artistry.
The Loboc Children's Choir performed the following repertoire of songs: Ampeu Se-lo by James Swu; Ugoy sa Duyan by Lucio San Pedro; La Pastoreta a Catalan folksong arranged by Ed Manguiat; Leron Leron Sinta, a Tagalog Folk song; and Ave Maria by Gustav Holst. The choir is under the musical direction of Madam Alma Fernando Taldo and is accompanied on the piano by Madam Baby Lina Jala.
The other competing adult choirs were the male choir Haemeenlinnan Mieskuoro (Finland); the female choirs Canto Cantare (Poland) and Long Island Chinese Chorus (USA); the mixed choirs Prietemii Musicii (Rumania), Accademia Corale Vittore Veneziani (Italy), Folkpust (Sweden), Gruppo Folkloristico Corale Salesiano Selargius (Italy), and Vararakn (Armenia); the small choral ensembles Klapa Kastav (Croatia) and Accademia Popolare Gallurase Gavino Gabriel (Italy).
The audience and the jury were visibly delighted by the fact that it was a children's choir that beat twelve other adult choirs from Europe and the USA. Both at the final program and at the closing dinner, the LCC was given extended standing ovations. Singers, conductors, jury members, organizers and the general audience spontaneously approached the kids congratulating and hugging them with faces evidently impressed and moved. It was truly a both an artistic and a spiritual victory for the Philippines! The children's choir has captivated the hearts of foreign and Filipino audiences with their message of peace, joy and love through the medium of music.
Dr. Cabero, the Catalan juror from Spain, approached Madam Taldo and expressed great admiration. He said that the performance was truly excellent. The Catalan folksong was rendered with excellent diction, musicality and interpretation. Their sense of national pride was deeply enhanced, he said. The Loboc choir was effectively coached by Catalan Senor Oscar Bosch a good friend of Ino Manalo, the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Manila which is the main presenter of the Loboc Children's Choir Concert Tour in Europe. Dr. Cabero also intimated that the jury chose the Loboc Children's Choir as the champion unanimously.
The venue of the competition was in the beautiful old church of Santa Maria del Pi in Barrio Gottico, Barcelona, near the Rambla and was held during the Fiesta of the same city. Organized in cooperation with the Catalan Choral Federation, the festival included small concerts of the participating choirs. The Loboc Children's Choir performed a mini concert together with the others in the Garrica i Bachs Plaza beside the main Barcelona Cathedral on September 18. The competition program for the LCC was on the evening of Friday, September 19 and results were announced in the evening of Saturday September 20. All the participants were treated to a formal dinner in the a restaurant by the Barcelona port.
From September 17 to 21, the LCC was lodged in Hotel Fraggata in the beautiful coastal town of Calella, one hour away from Barcelona. The Filipino catholic community of Barcelona headed by its chaplain Fr. Roel Castaneda organized a mini concert after the Sunday Evening mass for Filipinos last September 21. This was attended by close to a thousand Filipinos who were treated to almost an hour of choral music from the victory happy Boholanos.
This triumph of the Loboc Children's Choir is a most historical event for both the Boholanos and for the entire country. The LCC is on a three month tour of Europe for a concert tour dubbed TUBOD, a Musical Journey for heritage and peace, organized by the Metropolitan Museum of Manila (MET) headed by Ino Manalo and Bea Zobel Jr. The Tour started last September 7 and will last through November 21, covering eleven countries in Europe. The aim of the tour is to promote Bohol as a heritage destination and to advocate support for the rehabilitation of the Loboc Church and Convent Complex where TUBURAN the Center for Living Traditions will be established in cooperation with the MET.
This year, the LCC is composed of 26 kids ages 10 to 13 from the Loboc Central Elementary School. The adult staff on tour also includes Loboc parish priest Fr. Desiderio Magdoza and other elder staff from Loboc.
The tour has been made possible by a consortium of grants facilitated under the auspices of the Metropolitan Museum of Manila. The principal donors and partners have been the MET Museum of manila, Bea Zobel Jr. And her family, Diocese of Tagbilaran, Provincial Government of Bohol, national Commission for Culture and the Arts, Department of education, the Pinatubo sa Kinabukas Foundation, Development Bank of the Philippines, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Tourism, Angelo Balili, CCP, ABS CBN Foundation, Makati Business Club, Loboc Music Foundation, Loboc Parish Council, Loboc Municipal Government, Communication Foundation for Asia, UP Singing Ambassadors, Ed Manguiat, AAA Travel, Supercat, Rajo Laurel, Bel Air barangay, Boysen Paints, Imelda Cojuangco, Barge Ramos, NAPOLCOM, and many more........
In Europe, major partners have been Philippine embassies and consulates in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, Italy, Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
See also The Festival Web-page.