Tag: andrea veneracion

Andrea O. Veneracion International Choral Festival: A tribute and a legacy

Time flew, fast. It has been two years since the first ever international choral competition took place at the CUltural Center of the Philippines. And I am proud to have been part of it.

Now, two years after, the second competition happens right on the month when the honoree commemorates her birth and passing on. As I type this, we remember her second birthday in heaven, two days before her actual birth date.

This year’s competition happens on the third week of July, from the 22nd to the 25th. Just as it’s about to close on the 25th, the nation will be celebrating the National Week of Filipino Music. Such a great tribute!


And as for its second season, the competition is a legacy, a beautiful one left by the honoree, Prof. Andrea O. Veneracion, Ma’am OA to many, one of the pillars of Filipino choral music. Through her legacy of excellence as founding choirmaster of the Philippine Madrigal Singers, and the legions of choristers its members and alumni have trained, the Singing Philippines have reached a realization.

Competing for the second competition are six choirs from Indonesia, Italy, and Mexico, and ten Filipino choirs, vying for prizes in three categories, which are Folk Music, Chamber Choir, and Vocal Ensemble. The jury is composed of five of the best names in the choral world: Brady Allred (I once took a conducting masterclass under him back when I was pregnant), Janis Liepnis (who handles Kamer, a two-time European Grand Prix for Choral Singing winner like the Madz), Silvana Vallesi (yay for female conductors! She conducts the Coro Universitario de Mendoza in Argentina), Andre Van der Merwe (famous conductor of youth choirs in South Africa), and Mark Carpio of the Philippine Madrigal Singers.

To celebrate Filipino culture and music, the competition will premiere the obligatory piece commissioned by the CCP for the Chamber Choir category, entitled “Ang Tren,” a setting of Filipino literary giant Jose Corazon de Jesus’ poem, music composed by young award-winning composer Saunder Choi.

It’s always a learning experience watching competitions, that’s why if you are a choral conductor or chorister, you should watch this. An international level of competition right in our own land!

Watch this video to learn more about the competition.

If you’re a student or a chorister who would want to watch, email choralfestmnl2015(at)gmail(dot)com to inquire on how to avail of the 50% discount. And since the Opening and Closing Ceremonies are free and open to all, see you there!



July 22-25, 2015

Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater).


Wednesday, July 22, 2015:

5:00 PM Opening Ceremonies;
7:00 PM Folk Song Competiton

Thursday, July 23, 2015:
7:00 PM Vocal Ensemble Competition

Friday, July 24, 2015:
7:00 PM Chamber Choir Competition

Saturday, July 25, 2015:
4:00 PM Philippine Madrigal Singers Gala Concert
7:00 PM Awarding & Closing Ceremonies

Ticket Prices: P800, P700, P500, P300 (all competitions and
Madrigal Singers concert) 50% discount for students & choirs who want to watch

Opening and Closing Ceremonies: FREE/OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
For ticket inquiries/reservations please email choralfestmnl2015@gmail.com

Website: http://culturalcenter.gov.ph/single-tickets/view-event/?id=44829225


15 and 1

Yesterday, after a full day of work (faculty meeting in the morning then choir rehearsal in the afternoon), I headed off to two important celebrations: the Shrine of Jesus’ 15th Anniversary of its consecration and dedication, and OA’s first death anniversary.

These two events coincided on the same time, so I had to fix my schedule. I sang for the Mass at the Shrine, missed the boodle fight dinner, and went to the dinner gathering albeit super late, where I missed the earlier memorial ceremony and Mass for Ma’am OA.

15: Falling in love…with a church

It is no secret how much I love serving at the Shrine of Jesus. For the past eight years of serving as children’s choir conductor, and eventually, as music ministry coordinator, I was molded into the person I am now. Thanks to my mentor, Monsignor Bobby Canlas, the Shrine Rector, from being a mere choirgirl, I am in the helm of the children’s choir now, and have handled important projects of the Shrine.

The past 15 years have been a true testament of God’s love to this church. With no parishioners living around the area, the Shrine community started with tens, then hundreds, then now, thousands. From that barren land stood only that church where no public transport dared to travel. Lay people from nearby provinces were called to serve. The Shrine eventually became a popular wedding, baptism, and reception venue, and a favourite among churchgoers when important church feast days like Holy Week and Christmas seasons come nearer.

Mons Bobby explained during the Mass how the Shrine of Jesus came to be. In 1995, during the 10th World Youth Day held in Manila, Philippines, then Pope John Paul II proclaimed to build a church in honor of that well attended and successful event. After four years, the church was inaugurated and named Shrine of Jesus, the Way the Truth, and the Life. Quite a mouthful for a church name, I first thought, but it originated in John Paul’s message during that Mass, that Jesus is our way, truth, and life.

What keeps us loyal to the Shrine? It’s the community it built. It’s the welcoming atmosphere among its volunteers. It’s the solemn and meaningful celebrations of the Holy Eucharist. It’s the “pakulo” we tirelessly prepare during special occasions.

Most of all, it’s a church that gives back. In 2008, my wedding year, some music ministry members were starting to plan projects for the benefit of the church. A simple concert will do, we said. Our Rector dreamed bigger for us. And out of that dream, we were able to have the Philippine Madrigal Singers perform at the CCP, and we were able to raise 1 million pesos for the PGH pediatric cancer patients. It was more than what we dreamed of. Of course, we were able to raise more than our target amount, so the rest went to several other institutions, and whatever was left went to the Shrine. We were just humbled and proud of that project.

Apart from it, and Mons Bobby does this all the time, he fervently asks the community to dig deeper into their pockets to give more during calamities. Give until it hurts, that’s what he reminds us always. Whatever is collected, he sends straight to the affected diocese.

The Shrine has been blessed because of its priests, its talented and generous lay people and churchgoers. The church is always misconstrued as strict, or sometimes, snob, especially when kids roam around during Mass. I’d say, disciplined is the proper word for it. And I would not have it any other way.

1: In memoriam

A year ago, Ma’am OA, as we would call the founder of the world-renowned choral group, the Madz, passed on.

The Madz is the Philippine Madrigal Singers. Ma’am OA is Prof. Andrea O. Veneracion, its founder. I wrote about her necrological rites last year here, and another blogpost months prior her passing on as my tribute to her here.

I, along with two more Madz alumni, came almost at the end of the program, but we’re glad to have made it. As OA would say, Just do it. So we braved EDSA traffic (which was unusual at already eight in the evening!), were served dinner, and listened to more singing and more testimonials to our dear Ma’am OA.

And the highlight of the night: this song.

Justice Magdangal de Leon and THE Sal Malaki who originally did the guitar and flute, er, should I say, whistle of the very first Madz song I learned in my church choir in high school. Happiness.

Happy 15th Anniversary to the Shrine of Jesus, and happy first year in heaven’s choral community, Ma’am OA.

This was the fundraising concert the Shrine co-organized. It was held two weeks before my wedding, that's why I was not able to sing anymore for this. I "resigned" from being Madz member in the middle of 2008, with much sadness but much fulfillment and memories in my heart.
45 and 10: Madz’ 45th Anniversary and 10th Shrine Fiesta. This concert was held two weeks before my wedding. I “resigned” from being Madz member in the middle of 2008, with much sadness but much fulfillment and memories in my heart.

~ Touringkitty