An all-Flipino choral group bagged the top Grand Prix prize at the recently concluded Queen of the Adriatic Sea International Choral Festival and Competition in Italy.
Kammerchor Manila of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish in Quezon City joined the virtual competition that was streamed online from June 4 to 6. They participated along with other choral groups from Armenia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Italy, Japan, Poland, UK, USA, and Russia.
In the past, Kammerchor Manila had also won the Grand Prix at the first Leonardo DaVinci International Choral Festival in Italy, and first place at the 63rd Certamen Internacional de Habaneras y Polifonia in Spain.
Kammerchor Manila bagged the top Grand Prix prize for their rendition of Dan Forrest’s “Entreat Me Not To Leave You.” They also won the Sacred Music Category and received a gold medal for two other categories: Mixed Choirs and Pop, Folk, and Gospel.
For the individual awards, the choral group’s conductor, Anthony Villanueva, won the Best Conductor award. (Read: Meet Msgr. Rudy Villanueva, A Celebrated Musician and Writer)
“I have been with Kammerchor Manila for the past 10 years and it is really a fulfilling journey for me personally and as the musical director of the group,” said Villanueva.
“It rekindled my love for choral music despite the situation we are in. It felt good seeing the support of the Filipino choral community during the live streaming event on Youtube. You’ll see fellow choristers cheering for the group’s success like one big family,” he added.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, members of Kammerchor Manila had been continuously rehearsing their pieces online. (Read: Online Masses: Meet the Men and Women Behind the Camera)
While technical issues like internet connectivity and glitches make rehearsals a bit more challenging, Villanueva said it is their passion for music that kept them motivated.
“It’s really the heart that we put into our music. Love, being the universal language, allows us to communicate with our audience regardless of the language of the song we are singing,” said Villanueva.
And since the competition was held online, most of the categories required pre-recorded performances from the participants. For Kammerchor Manila, they picked the best performance videos that they have from the past 3 years.
“It really felt good that even during this pandemic, the hard work our group exerted has paid off. But this time, in the virtual stage,” said Arvin John Garcia, one of the choir members.
“It gave me hope that after this pandemic, Filipino performers and talents will soon conquer international stages once more,” he added.