PASAY CITY—Tagumenyo voices once again resonated as the country’s finest with the grand slam victory of the Tagum City Chamber Chorale whose sweeping performance at the Cultural Center of the Philippines for the 2017 Government Chorale Competition elevated the city to the Hall of Fame in the premiere government choir competition sanctioned by the Civil Service Commission.
For the 30-man chorale group, composed of government employees of the City Government of Tagum, it was a make-or-break moment, citing the pressure to defend their back-to-back championship title which the group won in 2015 and 2016, respectively.
Aside from beating seven other government chorale groups from Luzon, Mindanao and the National Capital Region in this year’s competition, the Tagum City Chamber Chorale also made a sweeping record as the first chorale group to win in three consecutive years since the annual competition was introduced in 2010.
The group’s victory amplified Mayor Allan L. Rellon’s dream of forming a top-notch chorale group among LGU employees at the onset of his mayorship in 2013 to set the benchmark a notch higher especially so that the city is packaging itself as the “Music Capital of the South.”
On Wednesday, the local chief executive led the group in claiming the championship trophy and the 200,000 peso cash prize, perhaps the greatest affirmation of the realization of the group’s dream to be at the pedestal of the country’s highly-admired chorale groups.
Mario Sabello, through his calculated and relaxed manner of orchestrating the group onstage, was also declared as this year’s best conductor. The group also bagged another minor award as the best regional entry for Mindanao in the competition.
H.R. Ocampo’s “Genesis,” the fire curtain at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo of CCP, became a fitting background to the group’s powerful and soulful rendition of “Ummah Sallih,” a Muslim praise song, and “Suk Suk Fegesuk,” a Tiruray chant from Cotabato.
The chamber chorale matched the intensity of the glow of red-hot “embers” of Genesis as they belted out their take on “Kaya Ko ang Pagbabago,” the main contest piece which delivered them their third-year win.
Bayugan City Educators Chorale, also from Mindanao, was declared 1st runner up while the GSIS Choir and the Commission on Audit Choir—both from the National Capital Region— bagged the 2nd and 3rd runners up awards, respectively.
The five-man jury which selected this year’s winners include National Artist for Music Dr. Ramon Santos and singer-songwriter Noel Cabangon.
The group’s victory Wednesday ended the group’s rigid preparation which started in June, but the hiatus won’t be so long as it is preparing for its first international choir tilt which is the Sing N’ Pray International Choir Festival to be held in Kobe, Japan on the last week of January 2018.
The National Government Chorale Competition is one of the official activities lined up this September in celebration of the 117th anniversary of the Philippine Civil Service. Louie Lapat/CIO Tagum