Tag: mark carpio

#KoristaAko: Jhoan Ayos

Korista Ako

Happy (Chinese) New Year! I know, I had backlogs for #KoristaAko. The last quarter of the year had always been busy, busy busy! But it was very musical, and I hope yours was, too.

Now, on with my latest post! Last October, my husband and I (being part of the Philippine Choral Directors Association) were invited to attend a Culminating Recital event of the Plan W Sing Philippines Choral Leadership Program at the PICC in Pasay City. Plan W is a project led by Diageo Philippines, in cooperation with the Andrea O. Veneracion Sing Philippines Initiative.


Plan W participants from all over the Philippines in a culminating choral concert. My voice teacher, Bechie Valena, was one of their voice teachers during the weeklong camp.
Plan W participants from all over the Philippines in a culminating choral concert. My voice teacher, Bechie Valena, was one of their voice teachers during the weeklong camp.

One of the participants is someone I knew prior this project, as our choirs were supposed to be part of one project last year (still hoping for a collaboration in the future!). And we shall get to know her more and her Plan W experience here at Korista Ako!

Photo source: Facebook
Photo source: Facebook

Jhoan Ayos is a budding conductor from Cavite. She handles the Melodic Symphony Children’s Choir, which will be having its concert on February 28. This is the second phase of Plan W, where the choirs of the participating women conductors will showcase what they have learned in a concert-recital in their own hometowns.

Indeed a Dream Come True for these little angels and their conductor.
Indeed a Dream Come True for these little angels and their conductor. Click photo for event details.

She relays, “I started singing when I was five years old, for an Easter Sunday celebration. My cousins eventually asked me to join the choir. I continued, but they didn’t.”

“Almost three years ago, Fr. Ariel Lisama, a priest in our church, asked me if I could teach the kids. I accepted it and thought it was easy, but it wasn’t. That decision changed my life.”

Her choral heroes include Mark Carpio of the Philippine Madrigal Singers, who is also the Artistic Director of the Plan W Sing Philippines Program. She describes the Madz Choirmaster as musically gifted, very kind and patient, and exudes good vibes all around (wait, he’s my conductor, too! And yes, he is these ;D). Another is Steve Collado, her conductor in CVSU Pansayang Sining, which had brought her to places, as well as the Madz et al Choral Festival. Another conductor favourite for her is Davidson Sy, her church choir conductor, who taught her the meaning of service. She said she experienced singing for four Masses straight when they were the only choir at that time in their parish. It may be tiring and unrewarding, but she still enjoyed serving for the Lord.

I asked her more questions about the Plan W. Here is a Q and A we did over Facebook (edited some parts for clarity and conciseness, but retained most Filipino parts):

TOURINGKITTY (TK): How was the overall experience?
Plan W Sing Philippines has been a life changing experience for me. It made me realize that music is really my calling and made me ask myself, what took me so long? I once dream of inspiring people. Little did I realize I am already inspiring the children I am teaching through singing and serving. I felt so grateful and blessed to be chosen as one of the 34 scholars around the Philippines. I knew God has a purpose why I was able to be part of this a once in a lifetime experience.
I am so honored to be able to attend training with the finest mentors in the field of singing. Araw-araw siksik, liglig at umaapaw ang learnings from the mentors. They have different styles of teaching but then all of them are effective. Namamangha ka na lang na yung mga inaaral ng matagal sa schools and other trainings nagawa ng mga mentors na isqueeze sa time allotted for them. Aside from the technical stuff, there were also lots of inspiring stories from the mentors. Yung good vibes ang lakas makamagnet effect. Mapapasabi ka na lang din na ang sarap mangarap! Na someday you can experience kahit ilan lang sa mga stories na shinare nila.

Aside from the passion and love for music there is one more thing in common among all the mentors: they are all humble. Iba talaga yung galing na may kasamang right attitude.

My experience would not be the same without my co-scholars. We came from different parts of the Philippines. The youngest is 18 and the oldest is 60 but we share the same passion for music. I was roommates with Ate Vivian from Capiz and Ate Laarni from Butuan City. They made my stay more enjoyable. All 34 of us were able to have bonding moments also from breakfast to breaks and even going out at night. I love how we shared insights, knowledge and experiences. Most of them have many years of experience but never did I feel any competition. We were able to build friendships from the week long camp (Oh my I miss them) but until now most of us are still connected through social media and text messages.


TK: What were your most favourite part/s of the one week program and why?
The whole experience was memorable, though my favorites were:
Day 01 – I was so excited and at the same time so nervous. Before going to UP some of the parents of the kids I am teaching said “galingan mo Jho umaasa sayo ang mga bata.” It was both negative and positive for me. Positive because I know they are just wishing me well, negative because I can feel the pressure. Upon arriving at the hotel I was able to meet my co-scholars. Hearing all their experiences I was like, “Bakit ako nandito? Dapat ba ko dito?” Comparing my background to them, it was nothing. I cried on my first night and prayed. I was crying at comfort room thinking I am letting the kids down kasi hindi ako makasunod sa tinuturo ng mga mentors tapos maalala ko pa sinabi ng parents ng kids. Here comes my favorite part. While reviewing at the hotel one of my roommates, Vivian Berjamin from Capiz came to me and asked alin ba yung hindi mo maintindihan? baka matulungan kita nagbiro pa sya saying “akala mo naman magaling ako eh no” sabay tawa. Just a few minutes after my silent prayer, God gave me the answer. That gave me so much hope that’s why the next days have become more fun and easier to understand. This training is not just about the best mentors sharing their knowledge to us. It is also about us scholars sharing our experience and knowledge.

Day 07 – Culminating concert. I love performing and after 3 years I was able to perform again. A day before the concert, I have some tunes and lyrics on my mind then I started to arrange it. My co scholars ate Gisella from Imus Cavite, Ate Marife from Laguna and Ate Love from Las Pinas helped me to finish the song entitled “Sing Philippines.” It was my first composition and was shocked when Sir Mark told us, “you should sing this in the concert”. Seeing my choir members and my family during the concert was so priceless! Hearing my youngest brother shouting “Ate ko yan!” sobrang sarap sa pakiramdam. To be able to see how the audience liked our performance and some of them telling us thank you for insipiring us, grabe! Speechless kami! (Check out the video at the end of this post!)

TK: Three things (or more, or less) from your mentors that you think will be very useful for your conducting career.
“The Backbone of the music is the text” – Teacher Malou Hermo
Sometimes we tend to focus on the melody of the song. Maganda nga yung tunog pero yung text hindi na maintindihan. We should give importance to both.

“Teach music the way it is developed” – Teacher Joy Nilo
There are different ways on how to teach music but for them to understand music deeper you should teach on how it was developed.

“The most important discipline in the art of singing is breathing” – Sir Mark Carpio
All of us know how to breathe but only few know the proper way to breathe.

TK: Where will this training lead you to?
This training gave me empowerment, hope and more determination which leads me to dreaming many things for my choir. I want to learn more about music and share more to other people. I will continue what I have started. Two weeks after the training I already see improvements of how I rehearse with my choir and will still continue to improve in the coming days, months and years. It made me dream big for my choir. I want the kids to experience many things about performing and music.

TK: Anything you’d like to say to female conductors like you who aspire to be better at what they’re doing?

I started as “walang alam” in music, just the passion, kaya minsan na din akong napanghinaan ng loob pero hindi pala dapat. When you’re doing the right thing all problems, struggles are just temporary. God will provide! Tiwala lang dapat at wag susuko. Most of the time we conductors don’t realize how much we inspire our choir members. We fail to realize how they give importance to whatever knowledge we impart to them. Sometimes you’ll be shocked to hear them say “gusto ko din pong maging katulad nyo”. Our simple wish to share what we know caused chain reaction to our members to their future members. Keep the passion burning! Let us continue to share and inspire other people. You are on the right track! Keep going!

Thank you, Jhoan, for sharing your thoughts! We learned a lot from your stories, and we, too, can’t help but to feel proud of what you have achieved in those days.

If this is not enough, then check this. She even managed to write a theme song of the project, which, along with her co-participants, was performed during the culminating activity! Watch video here.
Sing Philippines buong Bansa tayo’y umawit
Sing Philippines musika sa puso natin
Dadating ang Araw, kapayapaa’y makakamtan
Kababaihan! Ating simulan.

Sing Philippines

Jhoan Ayos, composer


#KoristaAko is powered by Touringkitty. Tune in for the latest post every last Wednesday of the month. Follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates.


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


Date Night: Wafu and Kilyawan@20

Last Saturday, my husband and I celebrated six years of marriage. And he started the day with these lovelies:

Flowers to start our sixth wedding anniversary! #love #schatzi @tonalcantara

For months, we’ve been talking about how to celebrate. Should we eat out? Watch a movie, a concert? Do we bring our daughter with us? Do we leave her with my mom and sister?

So, we finally decided on having lunch together with our little girl and brought her back home where my mom and sister will take care of her. The Schatzis were off to another date night: at Music Museum!

We rarely had official date nights. The last probably was this one, which I also blogged about. And it was last January! And we watched a concert as well, featuring my colleagues from the UP College of Music, and our Ninong Mark Carpio, who was also part of the Kilyawan@20 concert.

It’s safe to say that my husband and I bond well all these years because of food and music.

Dinner stop: Wafu in Greenhills

As we arrived Greenhills really early, we decided to look for something to eat. A light meal would do. The few minutes of walking around brought us to Wafu for some Japanese cuisine. We had these:

Wafu Salmon Sashimi. Fresh and yummy.
Wafu Salmon Sashimi. Fresh and yummy.
California Roll. Just enough to fill our tummy.
California Roll. Just enough to fill our tummy.
What's Japanese without Ramen? We split into two so we both got just enough.
What’s Japanese without Ramen? We split into two so we both got just enough.

And for these three, our bill was only less than P800! Pretty good deal. Must note, though, that prices do not include service charge and local tax. The less than P800 included them both already. The first two dishes were smaller servings, thus, priced less.

My view. The restaurant has high ceiling. I heard there's Teppanyaki. Must try soon!
My view. The restaurant has a high ceiling (which I really like). I heard there’s Teppanyaki. Must try soon!

Now, off to the main event: Kilyawan’s 20th Anniversary Concert!

Kilyawan poster

My husband and I were in for a treat–pure a cappella goodness, not just a cappella, but popular music, beat boxing, microphones, sung by seven fine gentlemen with amazing voices and a great repertoire. You’d be thinking if they do this regularly. Well, they used to, but now, unfortunately, not anymore.

These seven were originally part of the Kilyawan Boys Choir, which started 20 years ago as Claret Boys Choir. These used-to-be boy sopranos have staged concerts and won important competitions both here and abroad.

Their conductor, Mark Carpio (yes, the choirmaster of the Madz, no less!) actually SANG in the concert (save for one song he conducted with the Kilyawan Male Choir). And for those who missed it, his solo of “Time Will Reveal” brought the house down!

Their repertoire included mostly pop songs. Older songs include Nearness of you, Shout, Change the world, Moondance (Buble fan here, and Sir Mark sang the solo!), as well as newer songs like This Love, the Madagascar theme song Move it, and OPM hits Kapag Tumibok and Puso and Bakit Ngayon ka lang and Christmas songs, too. The other choirs of the Consortium of Voices–Kilyawan Male Choir and Voces Aurorae also performed that night.

To think they’ve not sung as a group for quite some time, they did an amazing job. This same group won the Category Prize back in 2008, for the Popcappella Category of the World Choir Games in Austria. And who would have thought, these used to be boy sopranos are now successful professionals and family men.

Definitely the star of the show, Ninong Mark! We've been telling him to sing more. Looking forward to the next!
Definitely the star of the show, Ninong Mark! We’ve been telling him to sing more. Looking forward to the next!
Some Madz members watched as well, supporting our Choirmaster.
Some Madz members watched as well, supporting our Choirmaster.

More photos can be found in this link, story and snippets by Nicco Valenzuela.

To the Kilyawan core group (ER, Rhett, Rem, Jaymee–who definitely brought most of the comic relief!, Dado, Punky, and Sir Mark), and to the Consortium of Voices, congratulations for 20 years of wonderful music. You are an inspiration to many, including our own choir, who is always in awe when we get to sing together during Madz et al performances. Big congratulations also to Teacher Hazel Copiaco, the group’s manager, who’ve been the group’s second mother all those 20 years! We wish you many more years of music (and hopefully, a repeat of this concert!).

And to the love of my life, thank you for saying yes to watch this! Thank you for the love, thoughtfulness, kindness, and respect you always show and selflessly give all these years. Ariadne and I treasure you so much! Looking forward to many more blissful years together with our little one (and the future little ones God will give us).


~ Touringkitty

From Boys to Men: Kilyawan celebrates 20 years of music

Kilyawan Concert

The boys are now grown men, with grown voices.

The Kilyawan Boys Choir (Kilyawan Core Group) reunites in this special one-night only concert this Saturday, November 8, 2014, 8:00 PM at the Music Museum.

The Kilyawan Boys Choir celebrates their 20th anniversary this year with a series of concerts and performances. Early this year, the Kilyawan Male Ensemble traveled to Japan to compete in the 7th Fukushima Vocal Ensemble Competition where they bagged a Silver Prize for Category III. Last September, they presented a concert, entitled Beyond the Score, featuring the Consortium of Voices, the umbrella organization of choirs formed under the leadership of the Kilyawan Boys Choir, Inc. Founder and Artistic Director, Mark Anthony Carpio.

The group traces back its roots as the Claret Boys Choir formed in 1994 by Mark Carpio, current choirmaster of the Philippine Madrigal Singers. The Kilyawan Boys Choir derives its name from the songbird Kilyawan, or the Golden Oriole, whose male counterpart is said to be a better warbler or singer. An award-winning and sought-after group, the Kilyawan Boys Choir has performed and competed extensively in prestigious halls in the Philippines and abroad. They bagged the Vocal Ensemble A Cappella Category Championship trophy in the 5th World Choir Games in Austria in 2008. Aside from the boys choir, the Consortium of Voices has expanded and formed the Kilyawan Male Choir and the Voces Aurorae Girls Choir.

Singing for this concert are pioneer members of the Kilyawan Boys Choir. Rem Valenzuela recalls, “This is the group where I learned how to sing. It has been 20 years and we share not only our music but our friendship with you. Before joining the Philippine Madrigal Singers, Kilyawan exposed me to beautiful music making.” Rem, an alumnus of the Kilyawan and the Philippine Madrigal Singers, is a Registered Nurse who is currently taking up medicine.

The boys are indeed grown men now, who are professionals, among them a lawyer, corporate managers of multinational companies, entrepreneurs, and a sound engineer.

Something to watch out for in this concert is a singing choirmaster. Mark will be singing with the ensemble the whole time, and not conducting.

“The Guys are very excited in this reunion concert. They have stopped singing together since 2009 because of studies and career opportunities here and abroad,” said Hazel Copiaco, manager of the Consortium of Voices.

Be prepared for a concert of pure a cappella music—from pop, dance, classical, alternative to the mushiest of love songs.

Tickets for the concert are at P500 and P300. For ticket reservations contact 0917-8169349.

Half a decade after

…and it’s still surreal!

Here is the video clip of the announcement of winner of the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing back in August 2007.

Check out Touringkitty in the video, my dear lucky charm, the Hello Kitty wand given by my now dear husband.

Let me take you to Arezzo for a few minutes with these pics:


All choirs were given a few minutes to soundcheck. This was when we were waiting for our turn. One is trying not to be too nervous!


This was us after singing our competition set. And just look at the people who came and cheered for us! Some Madz Alumni came from overseas, Filipinos from Italy, Italians from nearby Provinces where we had concerts in, and even Spanish friends!


Sir Mark receiving the trophy, with all calmness and composure. While his singers were rowdy, shouting, thus losing our voices as we came back to Manila the next day!


This was us after the announcement of winners. We partied on the streets of Arezzo, in full costume, screaming our hearts out of joy and thanksgiving for the wonderful and once in a lifetime opportunity, twice for some members who won the same award in Tours, France, in 1997.

This competition capped our three-month journey in Europe. A few days after a quick pit stop in Manila, we flew to the US for another six-week concert tour.

That was my third tour with the Philippine Madrigal Singers in Europe. And that will probably be the most unforgettable.

To my sectionmates Liaa, Rhina, Karlene, Mavic, and Bianca, they say being a soprano in a choir is tough job, and I think it is. Continue to share your music to God’s people.

To the power altos Kuya Chris, Ate Pearl, Ate Melody, Ate Julie, Gladys, you’re all great singers and soloists and I admire you all!

To the tenors Sheen, Weng, Leo, JC, Aldrich, sing on, guys!

To the basses Itay Emman, Enrico, Kuya Jo-honey, Kuya Philip, Melvir, Marvin, your voices gave depth in the circle. May your voices continue to resonate for Him wherever you may be.

And to our dearest Sir Mark, we are so so proud of you! You taught us to work towards excellence yet still be humble of what we achieved. Thank you for believing in us. Thank you for believing in me! I never dreamt of this, but you trusted me enough to share the music we’ve worked hard for many months before the EGP.

Five years passed and it still seems like yesterday. The nervousness, the goosebumps, the sweaty hands, making sure I will give the exact pitch at the beginning of each song, making sure they hear the pitch!, and the big sigh of relief after we’re done with our set.

Most of all, in our little way, we represented the Philippines. It brought us great pride to be singing and carrying the name of the country in such an important competition.

Our country must have been bestowed by the Lord with such great and talented singers, that we are just lucky to share it to the world through the Madz. And what better way to celebrate it is by bringing the competition in our own homeland, via the Andrea O. Veneracion International Choral Festival Manila 2013.

More about the competition on the next post!

~ Touringkitty

Photo credit: All photos from the UPMS Multiply Website