The UST Symphony Orchestra, with conductor Herminigildo G. Ranera, performing amid festive decorations that perfectly set the holiday mood. Photo by Paul Allyson R. Quiambao

THE EIGHTH edition of the UST Christmas Concert last December 1 and 2 at the UST Chapel billed itself as a musical prelude to the grand Quadricentennial celebration next year. The concert lived up to its claim as members of high society and the rest of the audience were awed as the night was filled with a symphony of musical pieces that celebrated the yuletide season, somewhat of a herald to UST turning 400 next year.

The UST Brass Ensemble opened the show with Christmas Fanfare, a symphony of brasswind instruments woven into a medley of classic Christmas carols such as “Come all Ye Faithful” and “Joy to the World.”

The rendition of Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite” was a complement of bass tones and Raul Sunico’s piano-playing. Later, harpists Lourdes Gregorio and Christian Caragayan displayed exceptional skill and passionate artistry as they plucked away to the tune of “What Child is This.”

Meanwhile, Lemuel de la Cruz and the Liturgikon Vocal Ensemble gave an invigorating soul-cum-rap rendition of “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee.” The performers infused a contemporary jazz sound to the well-loved Christmas Carol.

The UST Singers lived up to their name as the Choir of the World, delighting the audience with uplifting versions of Filipino Christmas carols “Kumukutikutitap,” “Alleluia,” and “Kampana ng Simbahan.” Two members of the highly-esteemed choir, Mylah Ann Combo Rubio and Jose Maria Rubio, serenaded the audience with a moving performance of “The Prayer.”

The country’s most dominant soprano, Rachel Gerodias, wowed the crowd with “Rejoice Greatly from The Messiah” and “Because of Who You Are.”

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All of the performers gathered for the rousing finale — a performance of “Pasko sa UST,” an original piece composed by Conservatory of Music Assistant Dean Antonio Africa. The novelty song narrates the unique Thomasian yuletide festivities on campus.

The concert ended in a shower of confetti as both performers and audience sang “Adeste Fideles” and “Joy to the World.”

The performer—all from US—were personally handpicked by the UST Christmas Concert Committee, headed by Fr. Isidro Abaño, O.P. and socialite Maricris Zobel.

Proceeds of the concert will go to the heritage conservation efforts of the UST Museum of Arts and Sciences and to scholarships at the Conservatory of Music.

Zobel said the organizers are already drafting plans for the 2011 concert.

“By January and February, we will start conceptualizing bit by bit,” Zobel said. “How could we enhance something that is already so beautiful?”

The concert was sponsored by Liechtenstein Global Trust, San Miguel Corporation, Town & Country Magazine, and Belo Medical Group. Other sponsors are Divina & Uy Law Offices, Ayala Corporation, Emphasis Salon, Luxe, Beacon Holdings Inc., and Jonathan G. Matti Design Associates.


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