University of the Philippines Concert Chorus
||This article appears to be written like an advertisement. (November 2012)|
|The U.P. Concert Chorus|
|Also known as||Korus, UPCC|
|Origin||Quezon City, Philippines|
As an internationally-competitive performing group, Korus has perfected versatility in singing classical, folk, pop and Broadway musical genres with signature vibrant choreography. An icon of stage performance that pioneered ChoreoCapella or choreographed a capella, in the Philippines, Korus is one of NCCA's Ani ng Dangal Awardees for 2013. Ranked No. 1 in the world for Folk choral performance at the 2012 Festival Internacional de Musica de Cantonigros in Spain and the recipient of the 2012 Aliw Awards Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award, Korus soars beyond its 50th year to share its unique, fun and passionate performance to the world.
Prof. Janet Sabas-Aracama, or Jai, earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Music at the University of the Philippines College of Music in choral conducting, voice and ethnomusicology. Her mentors were Dean Rey T. Paguio in conducting, Josie Bailen, Fides Asensio and Elmo Makil in Voice. She is now a permanent faculty member of the University of the Philippines and Chair of the Conducting Department.
In November 26, 1999, she was elected and appointed by the University to be Artistic Director and Conductor of the renowned UP Concert Chorus, filling the shoes of the late Dean Rey T. Paguio.
With great determination and musicianship, she has led Korus to win numerous festival awards. Under her leadership, Korus has also been on a number of international tours. She is also the vocal and choral trainer and facilitator of music workshops in the Philippines and regularly serves as an adjudicator in choral competitions. She has acted as vocal instructor/coach in numerous musical productions, including Repertory Philippines’ productions of Into The Woods and Fiddler On The Roof, New Voice Company’s Chess and more.
As a soloist with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO), MPO and Las Pinas Bamboo Festival, Prof. Aracama has sung with such international conductors as Piero Gamba, Ruggero Barbieri, Julian Quirit and Oscar Yatco. On the concert platform, she has performed in Handel’s Messiah, Stravinsky’s Les Noces, Beethoven’s Symphony No.9, Verdi’s Stabat Mater and Requiem, Rutter’s Gloria, Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle, Mahler's Symphony No. 8, Bach’s St. John’s Passion and Magnificat]. Bruckner’s[Te Deum and Dvorák’s Stabat Mater amongst others.
Opera and Broadway credits include the roles of Katisha in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado, Bloody Mary in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific, Suzuki in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Mother in Jeffrey Ching’s Rendezvous in Venice as well as major roles in Gershwin’s Candide and Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin amongst others. She is a versatile singer, not only singing opera, art songs and Broadway but crossing over to contemporary gospel, soul, jazz and Original Pilipino Music.
The beginnings of the UP Concert Chorus hark back to the 1960's, a time marked by great political unrest in the Philippines. In response to the unstable national situation, Korus, composed of university students with a sincere passion to sing, took their sentiments and patriotic pride to the stage.
- The 60s
UP President Gen. Carlos P. Romulo decreed that the UP Concert Chorus, then-called UP Mixed Choir, would be the official choir of the entire University of the Philippines System. It was to be based at the College of Music of the University of the Philippines' flagship campus in Diliman, Quezon City. The group trained under conductor Dean Ramon Tapales and associate conductors Johnny Ramos, Dean Ramon P. Santos and Flora Rivera. Even as one of the earliest choirs, UPMC was already outstanding: its vocal consultant and adviser was the famous Aurelio Estanislao. National Artist Lucio San Pedro composed Suite Pastorale, part of which is the legendary Sa Ugoy ng Duyan, in 1966, especially for Korus.
- The 70s
In 1969, when Dean Rey T. Paguio (RTP) took over as conductor, Korus was constantly challenged to grow from a simple university choir to an entity of national stature, and eventually to a choir of international renown. Thus by the 70's, Korus had staged world-class pieces like Leonard Bernstein's Mass, Carl Orff's Catulli Carmina, RTP and Domingo Landicho's zarzuela Sumpang Mahal, and Bernstein-Sondheim's West Side Story in Filipino. Korus was a favorite guest choir among other performing groups like Manila Symphony, Ballet Philippines and Teatro Filipino. Korus also regularly sang at the iconic Concert at the Park, and went on its first three international concert tours. In 1974, the UP Concert Chorus was named one of the world's best choirs at the Lincoln Center International Choral Festival in New York.
- The 80s
Korus embarked on a stellar decade with its participation in Ballet Philippines' production of the Ryan Cayabyab-Bienvenido Lumbera opus Rama Hari and RTP's second original musical Ms. Philippines. Later in the decade, Korus acted and sang in Mike de Leon film Kakabakaba Ka Ba? Korus received a Cecil award for its recording of Ryan Cayabyab's Misa and became a regular in the various editions of the Metro Pop Music Festival, Bamboo Organ Festival, and Puerta Real Evenings. On the international scene, the 1980's marked the decade Korus started reaping recognitions in various choral competitions across Europe.
- The 90s
From 1974 to 1988, Korus went on 7 international concert tours, and in the 90s, UPCC went on 6 international concert tours, dazzling audiences in shows, festivals, and competitions throughout the U.S. and Europe. After over 30 years, the UP Concert Chorus continued to do landmark performances such as the world premiere of neo-classicist composer Heinrich Schweizer's oratorio Heirs of Eternity. The decade, however, ended on a somber note with the sudden death of Dean RTP in October 1999.
- The 2000s
Under the leadership of Conductor and Artistic Director Prof. Janet Sabas-Aracama and Assistant Conductor Emmanuel P. de Leon, Jr., the UP Concert Chorus continues to plant cultural seeds and friendship across the globe. With 20 international tours and innumerable recognitions tucked under its belt, Korus holds the singular honor of being invited 12 times to the prestigious Aberdeen International Youth Festival in Scotland, and four times for command performances for Queen Elizabeth II. Korus appeared in several important local productions such as the premier of Melba Maggay's Bayan, Isang Paa na Lamang, Lagi Kitang Naaalala, and Ryan Cayabyab and Fides Cuyugan-Asensio's Spoliarium. Korus is a frequent guest in TV specials and concerts of the likes of Martin Nievera, Sharon Cuneta and Gary Valenciano.
- UP Concert Chorus' 50th Year
In 2012, Korus joined three international competitions and triumphed in all of them. At the Festival Internacional de Musica de Cantonigros in Catalonia, Spain, Korus won First Prize in the Folk Category and Second Prize in the Mixed Category. Korus also won the Gold Diploma and Audience Prize at the 9th Cantemus International Festival in Nyiregyhaza, Hungary, and was chosen as one of the six best choirs at the prestigious IV International Harald Andersen Chamber Choir Competition in Helsinki, Finland—making the UP Concert Chorus the very first Asian choir to ever make it that far.
After winning several awards abroad, being recognized by its motherland is still Korus' greatest pride. Upon the group's return to the Philippines, the Aliw Awards Foundation feted Korus with its highest award, the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award, which Korus received alongside icons Jose Mari Chan, Imelda Papin and Danny Dolor. Not too soon after, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts recognized Korus as one of the Ani ng Dangal 2013 awardees, an event graced by no less than the Philippine President himself.
As products of the University of the Philippines, contributing to the body of Filipino arts is Korus' way of "serving the people." Now that it has reached its golden 50th year, Korus has proved that it has done more than just showcase exceptional talents. With a brilliant 50-year tradition of compelling interpretations, vibrant choreography, theatrical expressions, eye-catching costumes, and a charisma that is uniquely Filipino, Korus has revolutionized choir performance not only in the country, but in the world.
- Official website
- UP Concert Chorus Facebook Page
- UP Concert Chorus Twitter Account
- The UP Concert Chorus music page, with more than 40 streaming music files, including the UP hymn "U.P. Naming Mahal"
- The UP Concert Chorus' rendition of "Lupang Hinirang"
- UPCC Alumni Blog - CCAFI