The quadricentennial edition of the UST Christmas Concert Gala last Dec. 1 at the UST Chapel (Santissimo Rosario Church) was made more memorable by the playing of the UST Martyrs’ Carillon bells.

Formally opening the event was the lighting of a Christmas tree in front of the UST Chapel by Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim and the concert organizers Maricris Zobel and Rev. Fr. Isidro Abano, OP. As the Christmas tree was lit, Dean Raul Sunico of the Conservatory of Music accompanied the ringing of newly inaugurated Carillon with his piano-playing.

Father Rector Magnificus Rolando V. De la Rosa, OP welcomed the audience consisting of VIP’s and the who’s who in Philippine society.

The concert started with a Christmas overture by consisting of “Joy to the World” and “Angels We Have Heard On High” by Sunico, a pianist, the Coro Tomasino and Liturgikon Vocal Ensemble, and the UST Symphony Orchestra under conductor, Herminigildo Ranera.

With the Nativity scene as backdrop, Korean soprano Sim Sung-Hye sang Caccini’s Ave Maria.

UST campus choirs teamed up to sing Filipino carols such as Simbang Gabi, Sa Paskong Darating, Noche Buena, and Pasko Na Naman.

Three seasoned sopranos–Nenen Espina, Thea Perez-Prosia, and Naomi Paz-Sison–did a wonderful rendition of Gesus Gambino.

Not to be outdone, tenors Lemuel dela Cruz, Eugene Delos Santos, and Ronan Ferrer performed Saturno’s Salamat Maria and Del Guibeleo’s Gloria a te Cristo Gesu.

Miss Music 2010 Harlene Magsino, a promising soprano who is set to finish her music degree major in Voice in March, did not disappoint with her preformance of Air et Choer Inflammatus.

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Alto saxophonist Archimedes Lacorte impressed the crowd with Pasko na Sinta Ko and Payapang Daigdig.

Twelve-year-old Patrick Packay joined renowned baritone Andrew Fernando in performing “The Little Drummer Boy” and “What Child It Is,” eliciting “bravos” from the audience.

As expected, two-time Choir of the World UST Singers with choral conductor Fidel Calalang, Jr.,brought the house down with their performance. Bursting with the energy and vocal brilliance they’ve been known for, they sang Jubilate Deo, O Magnum Mysterium, “Down by the Riverside,” and Donte Estan Las Cantas, reaping a standing ovation at the end of their performance.

Premier soprano Rachelle Gerodias remained a crowd favorite with her soulful rendition of Patti’s “Rejoice Medley.”

For the climax, all of the performers gathered and with their powerhouse voices and instruments spread the Christmas cheer with the mash-up of “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” “Long Time Ago in Bethlehem,” and “Hark the Herald.”

The concert closed with the community singing of Ang Pasko ay Sumapit.

Zobel both confirmed and squelched rumors the concert was her last as organizer. She said the quality of the concert and the audience reception made her change her mind.

“How can I disappoint Fr. Dela Rosa and UST? I think I’m in this for life,” Zobel said.


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