Choral Charisma

12 May

Being exposed to singing contests at a young age (even I’m not good that I don’t actually win) made me love music. I love to sing those high pitched songs even though I am always out of tune and I’m really entertained when good singers starts to sing. That’s why when our Literature professor asked us to watch a choral completion last May 5 in the Irwin Theater for bonus points, I did not have second thoughts and decided to go.

From about 13 choirs who were invited to join, only 6 participated in the contest. These choirs are from the different parishes in the third district of Quezon City. The event was made possible through the efforts of the Councillor of district 3, Hon. Eufemio “Pinggoy” Lagumbay, some barangay officials and the participating parishes.

The event should’ve started at 7PM but the hosts began the program almost 30minutes later—a good proof that we Filipinos are really late always. The choral competition was hosted by the councillor’s son, Wency Lagumbay and the antagonist of ABS-CBS’s Wako-wako, Maricar de Mesa.

As my classmates and I entered the theatre, we noticed that every post inside had a poster with the councillor’s face on it. When he started to give the opening remarks, it was obvious that he was trying to get the support of the audience and I thought that he was doing this for an early campaign since his speech only included what he can do more for the district. I thought it was too shallow: maybe it’s just the way politics goes.

Back to the competition.  Each participating choir needed to sing two songs: a church song and a folk song. The songs sung by them are not quite familiar except for a Hiligaynon song Kruhay and the catchy song Tong Tong Tong Pakiong-Kitong. But then I never failed to appreciate the way that these people sang since their voices were so good and really mixed so well. Some of the songs were also funny, for example, the third group to perform sang a song with the lyrics “sa tabi ng punong saging tayo’y maglabing-labing”.

The fourth group to perform was Novo Concertante Manila, the choir of our literature professor. Of course my classmate and I cheered to the top of our lungs to support her: we shouted her name and the name of their choir and paired it with several “whoo’s”. The funny part is that the nuns who were seated at the front were looking at us as if we did not suppose to do that but we still continued to cheer.  After they had performed, another loud cheer was released but this time the nuns did not mind it that much.  Maybe because they have realized that the loud cheer was worth it since the Novo had the best performance as of that moment.

But the cheer was far louder after the last group was introduced. Then, suddenly I remembered the reason why our teacher asked us to watch the competition: to compete with the “jeje” cheer of the supporters of other choirs. It was obvious: we were defeated for the sole reason that we were outnumbered. This only shows that there are really some people who gives importance in supporting their friends or the people close to them.

The last group’s first song was good, but not better than the performance of the Novo. But I was really impressed when they started their second song, Tong Tong Tong Pakitong-Kitong since the choir members were also dancing. In the middle of the song, the conductor (which was, by the way, also good looking) also started to move his hips while he moved his hands. Then I thought that this group would be the winner of the choral competition because they were the only team who had thought of entertaining their audience that much. I also thought that the judges would love this since we Filipinos are naturally attracted to these types of performances.

After another set of “indirect campaigning” from the councillor, the awards were given. The award for the best costume went to the last group, which was kind of obvious because their outfit really stood out. What surprised me is that the conductor of the last group did not win as the best conductor in the competition despite the high level of his energy and being entertaining. The last group ended at second place and Php. 30 000 cash and the Novo came out first with Php. 50 000.

Actually, my classmates and I were betting on the last group even though the Novo’s performance was outstanding. Maybe it’s because the catchy and cute dance steps appealed to us and other audience. Most of us forgot that this was a choral competition and that it is based on how the choir sang, not how much they had entertained the audience. Well, maybe it may have contributed to the decision of the judges but that does not mean that the one who had greatly entertained the audience should win contests like this. Good thing, the judges did not think as shallow as we did. This made me realize that sometimes we think that a performance is good as long that it entertains us. We also tend to base being the best on how the performers appealed, not on the true criteria that is appropriate for the competition. Watching this competition, therefore, would in a way make me think more critically in judging the performance of people and choosing my bets in for the future contests that I may watch.


-Roselen Ann Vieja


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