- The University of the Philippines Concert Chorus
Infobox musical artist
Name = The University of the Philippines Concert Chorus
Background = group_or_band
Alias = Korus,
Quezon City, Philippines
Years_active = 1962–present
URL = [http://www.upconcertchorus.org/ Official website]
"(musical director and conductor, 1999-present)"Rycel Joy Cabugwas, (pianist, 2000-present)
The University of the Philippines Concert Chorus, also known as the UPCC or Korus, is one of the major cultural groups based in the
University of the Philippines-Dilimanand one of the earliest choirs in the Philippines.
After 46 years of being UP's premier cultural representatives of goodwill to the world and veteran of countless local and international concert tours, the Concert Chorus is now recognized as the pioneer of choreographed song for a choir. This innovation was started by the late Dean Reynaldo T. Paguio in 1969, and flourished under top choreographers like Edru Abraham, Gener Caringal, Tony Fabella, Edna Vida, Sonia Domingo, Steve Villaruz, Rene Hofileña, Ianne Damian, Paul Morales, Allan Samonte, and Ernest Hojilla, to name a few.
With Janet Sabas-Aracama, the Chorus' current artistic and musical director, the UP Concert Chorus goes beyond the typical choir performance style by performing choral art forms called "ChoreoCapella" (choreographed a capella) and "Choreographed Chorale" (choral works inspired by musical theater concert style).
From unique costumes to lively choreography, the group never seems to run out of ways to stand out from its contemporaries. The Korus' choral music interpretation is universally attractive to all cultures - through music and friendship, the Korus has bridged cultural gaps all over the world with its wide repertoire of song and dance.
Aside from being versatile, the UPCC brings is a certain freshness to the sometimes dreary choral scene. While UPCC performs admirably in classical choral pieces, it does not limit itself to a particular genre - this is evident with the range of choral music it performs: Filipino Zarzuelas, contemporary Filipino pop music, Broadway musicals, musical revues, jazz, rick, and grand classical operas. This versatility is what made the UPCC a favorite of many famous composers such as the late Philippine National Artist for Music, Lucio San Pedro, who arranged a number of songs specially for the group. Many internationally renowned composers and conductors (many of whom were former Concert Chorus members) have since followed suit, and have provided a number of compositions and arrangements for the group to sing.
After forty-three years, sixteen world tours, and hundreds of members, the UP Concert Chorus has indeed planted its seeds throughout the world. Many UPCC alumni have started choirs of their own, some of which have also become world famous. These include UP Saring-Himig, led by George Hernandez; the AFP-DFA Choral Groups, under Danny Bernabe; the UP Singing Ambassadors with Ed Manguiat; the Ateneo Glee Club under Joel Navarro; Koionia, led by Boyet Palisoc, and Kontra-Gapi with Edru Abraham, just to name a few. Aside from those groups, many members have also gone on to become respected solo artists in the local and international music industry.
The group was most recently showcased during the Cultural Center of the Philippines' (CCP) Outreach Program Concert Series entitled Salcedo Nights and Bel-Air Community Concert Series. The group has been making its rounds locally, having done provincial performances in the municipalities of Baliuag and San Ildefonso (Both in Bulacan), Solano in Nueva Vizcaya, Arayat in Pampanga, Daet in Camarines Norte, and Iloilo City in Iloilo. The Korus also performed at the CCP, as guest artist and choral support, with the country's top opera singers for the Philippine Opera Company's production of OperaNow; wherein the UPCC performed an all-cast production version of "Libiamo" (La Traviata), "Humming Song" (Madama Butterfly), "Nessun Dorma" (Turandot) and "O Fortuna" (Carmina Burana).
They have premiered several works by renowned Filipino composers such as Ryan Cayabyab's "Misa", Rey Paguio's "Mayo...Bisperas ng Liwanag" and "Sumpang Mahal", Lucio San Pedro's "Suite Pastorale", "Sa Dalampasigan" and "Sa Mahal Kong Bayan", and Melba Magay's "Bayan, Isang Paa na Lamang" - the National Commission for Culture and the Arts' Centennial Literary award-winning zarzuela. They also participated in CCP's choral festival "Samu't Sari" in 2004, and the significant concert entitled "Lagi Kitang Naaalala", in honor of the late National Artists for Music: Levi Celerio, Atang dela Rama,and Lucio San Pedro. Thereafter, the Korus was specially chosen to give choral support to Asensio and Cayabyab's "Spoliarium". The Korus also ventured in another medium by co-producing full length television specials, and by appearing in the critically acclaimed movie, "Kakaba Ka Ba?" in the 1980s under the direction of Mike De Leon.
In local show business, the Korus is also the popular choice for big events. Guest appearances in 2008 Grand Finals of "Pinoy Idol" and last 2005 of "Pinoy Pop Superstar", "Pinoy Big Brother", and "Star in a Million". Last year, they have appeared in several episodes of QTV's "Pop Star Kids", and GMA's Sunday Variety Show "SOP" and "Mel and Joey". The group guested in Sharon Cuneta's "Sharon: The Mega Event" in 2002, Martin Nievera's "Martin XV: Crossover Live" in 2001, and again in "Martin: A Song for Peace".
The UP Concert Chorus is a three-time ALIW Entertainment Awardee as "Best Cultural Group", a CECIL Awardee for their recording of Ryan Cayabyab's "Misa", and was most recently awarded "Best Performing Group" in the distinguished Gawad Chancellor Award at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.
A veteran of 18 world concert tours, the Korus has contributed immensely to promoting Filipino culture and heritage. The Concert Chorus holds the distinction of being chosen as "one of the world's best choirs" at the 4th Lincoln Center International Choral Festival in New York City. It also holds the singular honor of being invited 11 times to the prestigious Abderdeen International Youth Festival in Scotland, and four times for command performances for Queen Elizabeth II. The Korus also garnered major international competition awards last March 2008 at the 44th Montreux International Choral Festival in Switzerland, winning the Prix de Publique and Prix de Excellence. Last 2006, the choir won the Primo Premio di Excellenza in Canto Corale in Gorizia, Italy. In 2004, they were the favorite and received standing ovation at the 4th International Ruhr Universitat A Capella Festival, Bochum, Germany. In 2003, they won 3 gold prizes at the International Choral Competition in Mainhausen, Germany, the Premio Pubblico Speziale (People's Choice Award) at the Festival Internazionale Canto di Foklorico in Tuscany, Italy, and Finalist as the 51st Conccorso Polifonico Internazionale "Guiddo d' Arezzo", Italy.
The young choristers made rounds of Europe's major festivals - Voices of the World in Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria and the Europa Cantat XV in Barcelona Spain. In October 2004, the Korus toured surrounding cities in Germany and wowed the European and Filipino audiences through their performances in Milan, Italy and Paris, France sponsored by the Philippine Embassies.
With the enormous but fulfilling responsibility of reaping honors for the state university and country, the Korus continues to return and visit tour destination of the past, like the USA and Europe; but at the same time, they are challenged to plant to cultural seed and friendship across the globe in new destination such as New Zealand.
The University of the Philippines Concert chorus is not just a horde of talented university students -it is a group with the passion to perform. They have indeed done more than showcase exceptional talents in music and dance - the Korus has created generations of Filipino artists, all with the mission to serenade the world with the music they create.
* [http://www.upconcertchorus.org Official website]
* [http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=347588 The UP Concert Chorus music page] , with more than 40 streaming music files, including the UP hymn "UP Naming Mahal"
* [http://ccafi.blogspot.com/ UPCC Alumni Blog] - CCAFI Blog
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