The UST Conservatory of Music stages an "all-Filipino" Christmas gala concert at the Plaza Mayor on Dec. 2. (Photo by Joselle Marie B. Reyes/ The Varsitarian)

REMINDING Thomasians that Christ is what Christmas is all about was the goal of two Thomasian musicians when they wrote their original compositions for the UST Christmas Concert on Dec. 2.

The two-hour concert was held at the Plaza Mayor after the Agape and opening of the Christmas lights and decorations on campus, which some 34,500 Thomasians attended.

Asst. Prof. Fidel Calalang, Jr., founder of the UST Singers, composed the song, “Pasko ng Kaligtasan,” to highlight the salvation and eternal life brought by Christ to humanity. 

Calalang said he wrote the song in November 2021 to inspire others to remember the “special meaning of Christmas.”

“It’s not about celebrating Christmas like we used to do,” Calalang told the Varsitarian. “Of course, it’s a happy event, and it’s not just celebrating the coming of Jesus here on Earth, but [the] coming of Jesus to the world because he has a very special purpose, that’s for the salvation of mankind from sins.”

“It is about what he offered to mankind when he was here on earth, and that is the gift of eternal life, and that’s why it is called ‘Kaligtasan.’”

Calalang said he hoped the song would make everyone reflect on one’s relationship with God.

“Having established again the lost relationships that we have with God, and, especially now that it’s Christmas time, it’s a good period for us to reflect and see how we stand before Him,” he said.

Another original composition by Thomasian Ace Arceo of the Conservatory of Music was performed during the concert.

Like Calalang’s, Arceo’s “Halina’t Tunguhin” is a five-minute song recounting the first Nativity so that people could be reminded that Christ is the spirit of Christmas.

Arceo said his composition reaffirms that Christ is the Savior and the Nativity heralded the beginning of humanity’s salvation.

Arceo added that his song signifies the yearning for the in-person Paskuhan comeback, which is finally taking place this year after being held virtually for the past two years due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

The 2022 UST Christmas concert was the Conservatory of Music’s first “all-Filipino” concert. 

It featured 22 Filipino Christmas songs, including Calalang and Arceo’s original compositions, performed by Conservatory of Music students, UST Singers, UST Symphony Orchestra, UST String Orchestra, Coro Tomasino, and Liturgikon Vocal Ensemble.

Calalang, Michael Jacinto, Herminigildo Ranera, Arnold Josue, Maria Theresa Roldan, and Mark Raeniel Agpasa served as conductors for the performances. with reports from Justin Benedict Lim


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