IT WAS a flight to never Neverland for the University of Santo Tomas Action Singers Alumni Ensemble (UST-AS) when they wowed international and local audiences of the Peter Pan Asian Tour that kicked off in Manila last January 11.

The UST-AS, a mixed choral ensemble composed of UST Singers alumni from the different UST colleges, would join the Peter Pan tour to Hong Kong, Malaysia, China, Japan, and Australia.

In an interview with the Varsitarian, UST-AS choir leader and College of Science alumnus Noel De Mesa explained how their 16-man choir was able to land the spot as the Voice in the Peter Pan musical. The Voice is an additional element not found in the original 1904 play performed both live and on audio CD by the UST-AS.

“After graduation, we (the alumni) often meet each other to practice what brought us close to each other—singing,” De Mesa said. “By June 2005, Nobel Gabaza, our musical director, invited us to sing for the Philippine Independence Day celebration in Hong Kong.”

The performance proved to be the most impressive audition for ABA productions, a UK-HK based Production Company for the new musical version of Peter Pan.

“The recording was quite jam-packed and tedious, but either way, we enjoyed the fact that it sold quite well during the play dates,” De Mesa said. “It showed that the audience liked what we did. For a performer, that is the important part—being appreciated.”

Even before their Manila pit stop, their voices had already been showered with praises.

“Before Manila, we already stepped into the stage as the Voice last October at the Esplanade Theatre in Singapore,” De Mesa said. “Manila opened the Asian tour, and given some luck, the next leg of the tour would go back to Hong Kong by June and go to Malaysia by November.”

READ
Diwa ng regalo

De Mesa said working with various foreign theater outfits had been beneficial for the UST-AS.

“Working with people from other countries hone our singing capabilities a notch higher than what we used to have,” he said. “And in return, the foreigners also learn a lot from us. In fact, they always commend how exceptional Filipino voices are.”

During the January 9 press conference of Peter Pan at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Roxas Boulevard, Matthew Gregory, executive producer of Peter Pan, explained why he chose the UST-AS to be the choir for this musical play.

“The standard of singing here in the Philippines is incredibly high. And that is the main reason,” Gregory said. “We actually take the same choir in all the different cities we go to. So, if we’re in Hong Kong, we have the same choir. If we go to Kuala Lumpur, we have the same choir too.”

De Mesa added that their driving force for success is the legacy they would want to open for Thomasians in the international-theater limelight.

“We did everything we could in full passion, not only because of the financial stakes, but of the legacy it would render to us as a Filipino choir produced by an international theater outfit,” he said. “That way, when Filipinos, most especially Thomasians, audition for a role in the international scene, they would be given proper treatment.” Marc Laurenze C. Celis and Paul Jason D. Jaud

5 COMMENTS

  1. UST action singers alumni ensemble are definitely NOT former members of the UST singers. dream on! the Ust singers alumni group i heard formed the first ever alumni group in the philippines and they’re composed of former touring members of UST Singers based in the philippines. And they do have another group in US, UST singers Alumni Ensemble in America.

    • whoever you are child, before you make any comment kindly review your lessons . ust singers wont be conceived if not from ust action singers , it just without the word action. there was just error made by varsitarian over this write up in mentioning ustasae without the word action. thomasians are proud to all the international awards ust singers have been reaping and im sure ust action singers are proud too . afterall, ust singers is an offspring of ust action singers. and during ust action singers time, they have been giving honors and recognitions to the university. i am a thomasian the 80’s and i know how great ust action singers are , and happy to note that they have evolved as world class choral group called now as ust singers which action singers would have reaped likewise if they have started internationally during their time. im so happy to see and watched ust action singers perform during the ust quadri celebration opening nite.

    • HAHA SUSULAT SULAT KA WRONG GRAMMAR KA NAMAN! DREAM ON!

      O ETO….UST-ACTION SINGERS WAS THE FIRST CHORAL GROUP OF UST. ALL USTASAE MEMBERS WERE FROM UST. IT WAS NEVER STIPULATED IN THIS WRITE T UP THAT THEY ARE UST SINGERS. UST ACTION SINGERS WAS FOUNDED IN 1972 BY MR.RENE CORTES. SOME MUSICAL DIRECTOR EVENTUALLY DROPPED THE WORD “ACTION” IN 1992 AND MADE HIS OWN HISTORY. GO TO UST AND FIND OUT FOR YOURSELF. DON’T BOTHER ANSWERING BACK.

    • ask the UST SINGERS Alumni in the US what do they call themselves before. MOST OF THEM WERE MEMBERS OF THE UST ACTION SINGERS. THEY WON THE ROTARY CHORAL CONTEST IN THE EARLY 90’S. THEY ONLY CHANGED THE NAME OF ACTION SINGERS IN 92 BUT STILL THEY CALL THEMSELVES AS. UST SINGERS CAME FROM THE UST ACTION SINGERS. I CAN FIRMLY STAND FOR THAT

  2. Ask for INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS!!!!!! Go to UST and ask for a document in the 90’s, look for evidence that UST AS stopped its operation. As far as I know, UST Singers during that time was operating under UST Action Singers and all benefits (?) and recognitions have been enjoyed by them (USTS), under the UST AS. Again, PLEASE PROVIDE A DOCUMENT dated way back and authenticated.

LEAVE A REPLY

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.