MARKING the start of the traditional Paskuhan festivities in the University, the UST Conservatory of Music staged its annual Christmas Concert Gala on Dec. 1 at the lobby of the Buenaventura Garcia Paredes, O.P. Building. 

The concert featured compositions ranging from chorale pieces to popular Christmas jingles. 

“Our songs and carols, steeped in the rich tradition of our faith and brought to us, especially by the UST Conservatory of Music and Thomasian talents, echo the joy and wonder that fill the hearts of those who witnessed the first Christmas,” said Fr. Pablo Tiong, O.P., vice rector for religious affairs, in his welcoming remarks. 

“Our gathering is more than a festive assembly; it is a profound expression of our shared faith and joyful celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ,” he added. 

The UST Symphony Orchestra’s rendition of “Christmas Fireworks Music,” written by Music Dean Antonio Africa and conducted by music alumnus Michael Jacinto, opened the concert. 

The orchestra also played an interpretation of the Filipino hit song “Sana Ngayong Pasko” by Jimmy Borja and arranged by Mark Estrada to remember Thomasian’s distant loved ones during the Yuletide season. 

The “Five Sopranos,” together with music students Louriz Alvarez and Semper Fidelis “Fidel” Bunglo, rendered a musical-like performance of “Our Gifts for Christmas,” which transitioned from being humorous to solemn as they called for peace between countries in conflict.  

Breaking from the Christmas pop songs, the UST Singers then performed the spiritual folk piece, “Way Over in Beulah Lan’” by Joseph Jennings, led by their conductor, Asst. Prof. Fidel Calalang Jr.

“I chose [to include] this piece because it is a highly demanding piece, highly virtual, very difficult, and very rhythmic. So I think that [it] will add to the very lively spirit that the Christmas season demands,” Calalang told the Varsitarian.

The UST Singers render a performance during the Christmas Concert Gala on Dec. 1 at the Buenaventura Garcia Paredes, O.P. Building. (Photo by Valere Jane R. Callorena/ The Varsitarian)

The UST Singers founder added that the Christmas Concert Gala is something they look forward to performing in every year. 

“We hope that we can make [the audience] happy and make them feel the Thomasian spirit every Christmas time,” Calalang said.

“[In] the past years we did it at the Plaza Mayor [in an] outdoor setting, but for many years [before that,] we did it at the UST Chapel,” he added. “[Now], this is more intimate. We have, I think, more access to express our music with this small size.”

Service community partners of the conservatory were featured in the concert, including Aeta children from Sitio Buok in Tarlac and the Parent’s Advocate for Visually Impaired Children who sang “One Voice” and “Prince of Peace.” 

Also performed was a medley of Jill Jackson-Miller and Sy Miller’s “Let There Be Peace on Earth” and Yoko Ono and John Lennon’s “War is Over.”

To cap the show, the bands, groups and soloists joined on stage to sing “Ilang Tulog Pa Ba? Pasko Na!” and “Pasko sa UST.” 

Calalang, Jacinto, Theresa Roldan, and Mark Raeniel Agpasa served as the conductors for this year’s Christmas Concert Gala. With reports from Mikhail S. Orozco 


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.