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Metro Safe & Sound: Catch UST Singers' Performance This Black Saturday

Feel the solemnity of Holy Week with this special music video offering

Holy Week this year is different across the globe because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Due to the implementation of community quarantine in various parts of the world, it cannot be observed and commemorated the traditional way. 


Filipinos usually spend Holy Week by doing the Visita Iglesia, a lenten tradition wherein people visit seven churches on Maundy Thursday. Or, by going to a church and doing the Stations of the Cross.


For obvious reasons, people will have to break these traditions, as everyone is not only encouraged but mandated to stay at home in order to stay safe from the deadly virus.  


As the world ushers the advent of virtual efforts during this challenging time, in lieu of these religious practices, Metro.Style has organized an unplugged music video series to keep the spirit and celebrate the true meaning of Holy Week. Dubbed the "Metro Safe & Sound," this initiative will be for the benefit of ABS-CBN's Pantawid ng Pag-Ibig campaign.



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The Metro Safe & Sound: Unplugged Music Video Series is done in collaboration with bands 92AD and UST Singers as well as solo artist Katrina Saga.



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The UST Singers' performance for Metro Safe & Sound Holy Week Series will be uploaded on Black Saturday, April 11. 


Fred Pineda, Communications and Special Projects Officer of the UST Singers, talks about their group below:


Please briefly share how and when the UST Singers was formed.

"The choir was formed in 1992 by our founder and conductor, Professor Fidel Gener Calalang Jr., and is the premier mixed choral ensemble of the University of Santo Tomas. It consists of select students and alumni representing the faculties and colleges within the university."


Who are the members of the group now and how many are you in it?

"The choir consists of 30 select students and alumni representing the faculties and colleges of the University of Santo Tomas. We have members who are as young as senior high school students and even members who are now professionals working in their chosen field of discipline." 


The UST Singers at the UST Main Building Grand Staircase

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What music genre do you specialize in?

"Our group performs mainly choral music, but having said that, we do not limit ourselves within the norms of the traditional choral art form. We strive our best to present a diverse repertoire that highlights our group's virtuosity and versatility.


"A large breadth of music that we perform features genres such as sacred/inspirational, classical, madrigals, pop, Broadway/musicals, ethnic/folkloric, world/international music, and Filipino folk/kundiman/OPM while incorporating choreography into our performances."


Where does UST Singers usually perform?

"Apart from representing the university in various events and social platforms, we concertize yearly both locally and internationally. Travel has become essential to our group in promoting our message of goodwill and in showcasing our country's rich culture and heritage, that is why our group has enjoyed the privilege of representing not only our university but also our country in international goodwill concert and competition tours (34 tours to date). This has brought us to countries in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Australia. We also collaborate with various organizations in doing benefit concerts and performances to raise funds for charity."


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What were some of your band's remarkable performances?

"Some of our group's remarkable performances would arguably be our winning performances at the 1995 and 2010 editions of the oldest choir competition in the world, the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, in Llangollen, Wales, where we won the highly-coveted Choir of the World - Luciano Pavarotti Trophy twice. We're the only choir in the competition's entire history to achieve this feat—this on top of more than 82 top prizes we have garnered throughout the years from international choral festivals and competitions we have participated and represented our country in. 


"Most recently, we have staged 'Amor y Amistad,' our 28th anniversary concert and choral festival last February 16 at the CCP Main Theater in Pasay City, and it was attended by some 2,000 people in the audience. We were joined onstage by seven of the most exceptional choirs in the Philippines with their conductors who were former members of our group as well as alumni from different batches of our choir, with some hailing from different parts of the globe. It later culminated with a grand finale number showcasing a 300-strong choir onstage."


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During this time of crisis, do you believe music has the power to heal and soothe the soul?

"Yes, we do. As cultural and goodwill ambassadors, we believe that music is instrumental in the process of healing and uniting people, especially in these trying times where our faith and resilience are further put to the test. Music also soothes like a balm and has the power to uplift our spirits and connect us closer to God, our creator, and the source of life. People find solace in what is easily and readily tangible, and like prayer, music, as a universal language, can do just that."


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Don't miss UST Singers' performance this Black Saturday, April 11, 4p.m., on Metro Channel and Metro.Style's YouTube channel


Watch 92AD band's Metro Safe & Sound performance last Palm Sunday below:



For updates and inquiries on the UST Singers, follow @OfficialUSTS (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SoundCloud), email [email protected], or call/text Bon Carolino at +63 927 490 4707 / Mars Manalili at +63 916 756 1000. To watch their performances and hear more of their music, visit their official YouTube channel.


Photos courtesy of UST Singers