CORO TOMASINO, and various local choirs and singers, sang for a cause in “Rise! Rebuilding from the Ruins” at the Manila Cathedral-Basilica last June 11.

The concert was staged for the benefit of Caritas Manila’s Damayan sa Haiyan rehabilitation program for the Yolanda-stricken areas in the Visayas region.

Under the musical direction of renowned composer Ryan Cayabyab, who wrote the hit OPM songs “Limang Dipang Tao” and “Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika,” Rise! aimed to raise at least 20 million pesos for the reconstruction of 20 churches and chapels across Samar and Leyte including the 400-year-old Palo Metropolitan Church.

Cayabyab said music is a powerful tool towards reformation.

“Music rebuilds confidence, as well as our places of worship destroyed by nature’s wrath,” Cayabyab said during the press conference. “We enjoin fellow Filipinos to sing as one as we see our churches in [the] Visayas rise again in glory.”

The Philharmonic Orchestra provided the symphony to the 13-song set while six other university choirs, including the University of the Philippines’s Dawani Women’s Choir and the Mass Appeal Choir, and local singers graced the cause.

Opening the concert was the monastic chant “Te Deum,” with its monophonic symphony, followed by the lively rendition of “Gloria” sang by tenor Ervin Lumauag.

Delivering the soulful “Anima Christi” was the lone international choir at the concert, University of Hawaii’s Voices of Aloha, under the baton of Miguel Felipe.

Silencing the audience with her angelic voice was mezzo soprano Clarissa Ocampo who sang “Ave Maria.”

Meanwhile, Dada Dp Supnet provided the vocals for “Prayer for Generosity,” followed by “Miserando Atque Eligendo” which was written by Dagupan Archbishop and Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines President Socrates Villegas.

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One of the most-awaited performances was His eminence, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle’s special number of the powerful “Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi.”

Celebrated mass songs were also given its due with the duet of Nathanael Arnel de Pano and Cherry Caballero.

No Ryan Cayabyab concert would be complete without a performance by his singers as they sang excerpts from “Lorenzo,” the composer’s third religious-themed musical.

Selected OPM singers also shared their talents for free. Filipino balladeer Basil Valdez sang "Maria,” Jed Madela performed the melodic “Munting Sanggol” while ending the solo performances was Dulce, who sang “Luha sa Kinalimutang Lupa” from the local theatre production “Katy.”

“We must remain in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who are slowly recovering from the blows of Yolanda,” Caritas Manila Executive Director Fr. Anton Pascual said. “The chapel has been a place of refuge for the survivors, symbolizing hope and giving them the reassurance that God is with us.”

Other producers of Rise! include the Cultural Center of the Philippines, PLDT-Smart Foundation and One Meralco Foundation. E. C. A. Lopez

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