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The University of the Philippines Concert Chorus (UPCC) won two awards at the Festival Internacional de Música de Cantonigròs in Catalonia, Spain, last week.
As the team representing the Philippines, UPCC bagged the second prize or "Ajuntament de Vic" in the Mixed Choirs category, along with a cash prize of 1200€, on Friday. They also secured the first prize or "Generalitat de Catalunya" in the Mixed Choirs, Folk Music category, along with a cash prize of 600€, on Saturday.
The winners were chosen by 12 members of a "Jury of Music" and four members of a "Jury of Dance," according to the festival website, www.fimc.es.
For the first competition, the UPCC sang an "obligatory work" titled "Madrigal" by Cristòfor Taltabull, as well as three other songs. They trumped Indonesia, Ukraine, Romania, Venezuela, Spain, and Argentina, with Norway taking the crown.
For the second competition, they sang three folk songs including "Pasigin," a Visayan fishing song, and "Ilay Gandangan" or "Worship of the Sun," by Rodolfo Delarmente. They triumphed over Hungary, Russia, Italy, Slovenia, China, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Indonesia, Poland, Romania, Lithuania, Venezuela, Romania, Argentina, Spain, and China.
Here is their performance of "Ilay Gandangan," as seen on the UPCC YouTube Channel.
For their performances during the evening concerts of Friday ("One World, One Voice, One Song" by Kirby Shaw and The Beatles' "Let it Be") and Sunday ("De Profundis," "Kruhay," "Eres Tu," and "Tribute to the King of Pop"), UPCC received standing ovations.
The competition ran from Thursday to Sunday, with the UPCC squeezing in a visit to Hospital de la Santa Creu in Vic, to sing to elderly patients who were seriously ill.
They performed the classic Spanish love song "Eres Tu."
"In an era where art is a struggling endeavor, we are often asked why we still continue to pursue our music. Some people doubt our motive, our drive, even our direction," UPCC said on their Facebook page.
"Beyond awards and recognitions, what fuels us is the very experience of making music-- to tell a story, to inspire. And when we see that we have touched peoples' lives through our music, that is our very reward."
Since the festival began in 1983, there have been 14 wins for various Filipino groups, including the Ateneo de Manila College Glee Club, the UP Madrigal Singers, the UP Singing Ambassadors, the De La Salle University Chorale, The Himig Singers, and the Philippine Normal University Chorale.