Artlets chorale bags back-to-back championship in Himig Tomasino

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THE Chorus of Arts and Letters brought home the championship title anew in the annual “Himig Tomasino” competition, the country’s oldest-running intercollegiate choir competition, last May 5 at the Medicine Auditorium.

“The pressure of defending our title was really on us this year. We really weren’t expecting much – just a worthy performance,” said Camille Barsolaso, president of the Chorus of Arts and Letters, in an interview with the Varsitarian.

The 22-member choir also garnered special awards such as “Best Costume,” “Best Conductor” and “Best Interpretation.”

“Preparing (for the competition) was very crucial for us. We could only muster 22 members to compete this year due to the lack of incoming students,” Mark Agpasa, conductor of the Chorus of Arts and Letters said. Agpasa has been with the choir since 2015.

The UST Pharmacy Glee Club came in second place, while the UST Science Glee Club landed third. The special award – the People’s Choice award – went to the Arkipella Mix Ensemble.

Judges for the competition were Janet Sabas-Aracama, Jose Emmanuel Duenas and Ronan Ferrer. Ferrer is an alumnus of the Conservatory of Music where he also teaches, while Sabas-Aracama and Duenas are professors at the University of the Philippines College of Music.

Each of the choirs sang two pieces; the contest piece and a piece of their choice. The contest piece, “Laudate Dominum,” was composed by Fidel Calalang, founder and conductor of the UST Singers and a professor at the Conservatory.

“The contestants really raise their game every year, so I took it up a notch as well for this year’s competition piece,” said Calalang in an interview with the Varsitarian.

This was the 12th year Calalang was commissioned to compose or arrange the contest piece.

The seven-minute piece is in three movements: the first part is very flowing and meditative, the second slow and articulate, and the last climactic and highly dramatic as it approaches a subtle end with a plagal cadence.

The choice piece of the Chorus of Arts and Letters was “Dies Irae” by Ken Steven. The piece is dynamic and highly rhythmic, with a slow and gentle section before breaking into an intense finale.

“Himig Tomasino” was hosted by the Student Organizations Coordinating Council.

“We took all the necessary steps to ensure a smooth event this year, meeting with the choirs and Sir Fidel for the drafting of this year’s guidelines and other details,” said Genielyn Soriano, student project head of this year’s “Himig Tomasino.”

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