The first week of my vacation in the Philippines glitters with multiple highlights deserving equal importance. But Feb 4th claims distinction for its offering of music and brilliant artistry in the performing arts. The University of the Philippines International Concert Corus staged its 60th anniversary extravaganza at the UP Theater before a fully packed auditorium. Music of various genres and dance combined for an evening of grandiose entertainment. While still in California and before my trip to the Philippines, I was asked by my niece Ritzi Villarico Ronquillo if I wanted to attend the concert. Without hesitance I said – yes, get me 20 tickets. So glad I did, because 20 members of my family thoroughly enjoyed the fabulous concert joined by some 200 voices of choir members and alumni from previous years, coming from various cities in the Philippines and countries abroad.
The concert was extraordinary– just as I remembered the group’s highly touted performance when my husband (now deceased) and I hosted the UPCC in Palo Alto and Mountain View, CA during their world tour in 1978, ’79 and ’81. Our involvement was because my niece Ritzi was one of the sopranos (she married the chorus bass member Robee Ronquillo) — and the group’s conductor Rey T. Paguio was a friend of my husband (from UP and church circles).
The Feb. 4th event recognized multiple luminaries who were alumni of the UPCC, like Prof. Edru Abraham, comedian Nanette Inventor, national artist for music Ryan Cayabyab. But special honor was given to Rey T. Paguio, under whose tutelage, musical genius and leadership the concert chorus first gained fame and awards in international music festivals nationally and abroad.
The performance at the 60th anniversary was exhilarating – profoundly uplifting – with historical sidelights of the UPCC that were quite informative.