Welcome to My Site

If this is your first visit, welcome! This site is devoted to my life experiences as a Filipino-American who immigrated from the Philippines to the United States in 1960. I came to the US as a graduate student when I was 26 years old. I am now in my early-80's and thanks God for his blessings, I have four successful and professional children and six grandchildren here in the US. My wife and I had been enjoying the snow bird lifestyle between US and Philippines after my retirement from USFDA in 2002. Please do not forget to read the latest national and International News in this site . I have also posted some of my favorite Filipino and American dishes and recipes in this site. Some of the photos and videos in this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on infringing on your copyrights. Cheers!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Time for Some Inspiring Choral Music from the Philippines

The UP Madrigal Singers

One of the extracurricular activities that Macrine and I participated during our students days at the University of the Philippines(UP) in Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines was joining the University of the Philippines Student Catholic Action (UPSCA) choir. For three years we practice twice a week with 300 other members of UPSCA in preparation for our annual concert. This was an activity that we love since both of us love to sing. Macrine is a better singer(soprano) than myself (baritone). But I compensate my mediocre singing with enthusiasm. I have never missed a practice in that three year period of our involvement with the UPSCA choir. In this video you will enjoy the beautiful rendition of the Prayer of St Francis by the UP Madrigal Singers-an international re known choir having won several awards in choral competitions all over the world during the last decade.

If this is your first time to hear about MADZ, here is a write up of the Group from Wikipedia.

The University of the Philippines Madrigal Singers (UPMS), also known as the Philippine Madrigal Singers or simply Madz, is one of the major cultural groups based in the University of the Philippines, Diliman. Its current conductor and musical director is Mark Anthony Carpio. They are the first choir in the world to win the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing twice (in 1997 and in 2007).

The Philippine Madrigal Singers (affectionately known as the "Madz") was founded in 1963 by National Artist for Music, Professor Andrea O. Veneracion. The Madz is mostly composed of students, faculty and alumni from the University of the Philippines. The group's trademark performance stance, singing in a semi-circle without a conductor, is instantly recognizable. A standard Madz performance clearly exhibits the seamless fusion of their musical virtuosity, technical proficiency and soulful singing. Their highly eclectic repertoire spans the breadth and length of vocal music: from Renaissance madrigals to the avant-garde, from Filipino and international folksongs to the latest pop hits, even from the most cerebral choral masterpieces to the most humorous of novelty numbers. This world-class choir can honestly sing anything with authenticity and professionalism while keeping their audience thoroughly entertained.

The group performs a variety of styles and forms but it specializes in the Madrigal, a polyphonic and challenging musical style popular during the Renaissance period where singers and guests would gather around the table during a banquet to sight-sing and make music together. This served as the inspiration for their unique style of singing - singing seated in a semi-circle without a conductor. As Philippine ambassador of culture and goodwill, the Madz has had the pleasure and privilege of giving command performances for royalty and heads of state. These include Pope Paul 6th, Pope John Paul II, Presidents Gerald Ford and Richard Nixon, Queen Sofia of Spain, King Juan Carlos de Bourbon and Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

This choral institution has produced more than 200 choral and vocal pedagogues from its ranks, actively and constantly shaping the local and international choral landscape. Madz alumni are much sought-after as singers, conductors, arrangers and music educators. Its corps of composers and musical arrangers continue to produce new compositions and choral settings of Philippine music, thus contributing to the global growth of choral literature.

As resident artists of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, outreach concerts have taken the Madz to far-flung areas seldom reached by most performing artists. Averaging two international concert tours per year, the Madz relentlessly engages in the promotion of Philippine music and the Filipino Artist globally.

Presently under the masterful leadership of Madz alumnus Mark Anthony A. Carpio, the Philippine Madrigal Singers continues to set new standards of excellence at a global level. Since their humble beginnings as a university-based chamber ensemble throughout their legendary rise as international choral champions, this 47-year old cultural icon known as the Philippine Madrigal Singers has irreversibly cemented its stature as one of world's best choirs for all time.

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