Another project came into mind last month: To feature chorister profiles on the blog, with the goal of inspiring and encouraging aspiring singers and choristers.
And so, #KoristaAko is born!
In photo is my now Youth Choir, the Shrine of Jesus Children and Youth Choir, during the Madz et al performance last year.
There’s just too many already, you might think. But why not make the whole country sing? Philippine Madrigal Singers founder, Professor Andrea O. Veneracion had dreamed of a Singing Philippines, and now we see choirs blossoming everywhere–in the barangays, places of worship, schools, companies, even among friends. Isn’t it great to see everyone really singing? And it’s much more fun singing in a group!
For our first Korista (and since it’s the Finale Weekend already of The Voice of the Philippines, I’d like to introduce you to the Singing Chemist, Jon Philippe Go! (YES, he is a certified Korista!)
Name: Jon Philippe Go
Current profession: Chemist
Philippine Vocal Ensemble (October 2012 – present)
UST College of Science Glee Club (June 2006 – March 2009)
This year will be an exciting year for PVE because we are gearing up for an upcoming tour. I can’t spill all details yet, but we will be part of various choral festivals and competitions to work our way towards it. In a nutshell, PVE will be ubiquitous for 2015!
Why did you join the choir? What was that something or someone that influenced you?
I started out as a member of our college choir in UST back in 2006, the College of Science Glee Club (CSGC). I always had a love for singing but what pushed me to join was when I heard them perform a playful rendition Maestro Ryan Cayabyab’s novelty hit, Da Coconut Nut, during our college orientation as freshmen. At that moment, I already knew I wanted to join CSGC.
After graduating from college, I left the choral scene for a while to pursue my career as a chemist but later on auditioned for the Philippine Vocal Ensemble (PVE) where I was introduced to many more facets of choral music. I wanted to learn more—that was my motivation—and words aren’t really enough to express how thankful I am for the amount of training both these groups have provided me. Proud korista here, 6 years and counting!
What is your favourite song arranged or composed for choir and why?
This is always a hard question to answer because it changes seasonally. Right now, it has to be Fr. Arnold Zamora’s arrangement of Anima Christi. The melody is very straightforward and the harmonies exude so much tranquility whenever I listen to it.
What was the hardest piece you’ve studied?
I’d say these two are equally difficult: Der Herr ist König by Johann Heinrich Rolle and Sinulog by Dyzon Pesquera. Both are so hard that it’s even harder to choose between them!
Any choir/s or vocal ensembles you look up to and why?
It has to be the Philippine Madrigal Singers and the Swingle Singers. The Madz because of their immense understanding of all the pieces they sing, and they always – ALWAYS – give everyone a great show once they step on the stage. I only wish to be even half as good as them!
The Swingles, on the other hand, simply oozes with so much creativity, musicality, and artistry! I first heard them perform with the Madz in CCP and I just had my jaw left in awe. Here, here! Let me pick it up first.
What is your most unforgettable moment—either a concert booboo or triumph—in the choir?
It was one of those days when we had to perform in a train station to promote the Busan Choral Competition in South Korea last 2013. I was to do the solo line for Man in the Mirror (arr. Annie Nepomuceno), which I’ve sung countless times, and we were all getting ready.
Everyone had their eyes locked in on our conductor, mine included. The first note, which was the soloist’s line, was given twice and I gave back a wee smirk that signaled I already got it. But I guess it was bound to happen sooner in my career—I started a half-step lower that would’ve thrown off the entire performance!
No sooner than I started singing the first syllable of the word “Gonna” had wild stares come piercing through me like a laser beam from our conductor. I understood then what had happened and by God’s angels I was able to salvage it by scooping up the note towards the second syllable, in a croon, leading to the right key! THAT will never be forgotten and was definitely a highlight of my tour with the PVE. Hahaha!!!
Korista ako dahil naa-appreciate ko ang mga nagka-clash na harmonies!
And if you’re asking, YES, the PVE is having auditions, the last day is TOMORROW NIGHT. See post below:
From their Facebook Page: The Philippine Vocal Ensemble will be opening AUDITIONS this February 20 and 27, 8pm at the Pasig Capitol Community Church, 19 San Rafael St., Kapitolyo, Pasig city. Kindly prepare 2 songs of contrasting character sung a cappella. You may contact Joel Aquino – +63920-9229628 or Alexis Joven – +63906-3573202, or send an email at philippinevocalensemble(at)ya
And yes, if you’re asking again, he’s generously shared his social media sites so we could continue following the Singing Chemist’s journey beyond The Voice of the Philippines:
Thank you so much for your generous answers, Philippe! Wishing you well in your musical journey, and hope to see you in your next performance.