Tiples de Santo Domingo, oldest choir in the Philippines

(Photo by Mark Darius M. Sulit/The Varsitarian)

TIPLES de Santo Domingo, the oldest boys’ choir in the Philippines, does not just serenade devotees during La Naval festivities but also hones its members in spirituality and study.

Bro. Glen Mar Gamboa, O.P., the choir’s spiritual director, said the formation of Tiples members include Christian formation, recollection and weekly catechism sessions.

“Kailangan mong kilalanin sila, yung background, ‘yung pinagdadaanan ng bata at ‘yung family niya. ‘Yung sense of belongingess nandun. Nakakikita sila dito ng sense of commitment and sacrifice [a]t yun din nagbibigay sa kanila ng direksyon,” Gamboa said.

Irineo Hernandez III, who joined Tiples in 1993 and is currently the choir’s organist, said joining the Tiples helped him develop his ability to work and serve others.

“Your service is still there. To the boys at present, I am able to share to them that the practices are important, their studies are important, but especially their service to people,” he said.

Dr. Eugene de los Santos, the Tiples choirmaster, said joining the boys’ choir gave him an edge in pursuing his career as a professional musician.

“Getting into music as a career was easy for me kasi the foundation was laid already. We were taught to read notes and may alam na kami sa theories of music,” he said.

Fr. Roland Mactal, O.P., former prior of the Santo Domingo Convent, stressed that deepening spirituality and intensified training would help Tiples de Santo Domingo make its own name.

“Ang vision ko sa kanila is [for them] to deepen their spirituality. Once ma-prioritize ang kanilang singing, spirituality and studies, that’s the time we can bring back the ‘glory that was,’” he said.

Recalling their rigorous training in the 1970s, Mactal said Tiples allowed him to imbibe a discipline and independence in his current work as a friar.

“Nakatulong yung training, kasi independent kami from the family. May regularity of schedule, daily practice and study period,” he said.

At present, Tiples de Santo Domingo conducts training and serves in masses thrice a week. Tiples members who study at UST Angelicum receive scholarships.

Mactal said the priority is given to boys from financially challenged families in the surrounding communities of the Santo Domingo Convent.

The oldest boys’ choir in the country will have a concert titled “Papuri: The Tiples de Santo Domingo Christmas Concert” on Dec. 7 at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay. Proceeds of the concert will go to the Tiples’ educational assistance and projects of the foundation.


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