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Ateneo Glee Club wins top prize at choral fest in Ireland

The Ateneo de Manila College Glee Club (ACGC) was recently awarded the prestigious Fleischmann International Trophy at a choral festival in Ireland, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said. In a news release, the DFA said ACGC received the award during the 58th Cork International Choral Festival on May 7.
The Fleischmann International Trophy competition is a three-part performance where the world's best adult choirs sing:
  • a piece composed before 1750,
  • an original work by a living composer, and
  • a work by a composer of the choir’s native country.
The 39-member ACGC, headed by their conductor Professor Maria Lourdes Venida-Hermo, won against other top-notch choirs from Germany, Ireland, Sweden, Slovenia, Singapore and England. In an email to GMA News Online, the ACGC said they received the Heinrich Schütz Perpetual Trophy Special Award for their performance of Schütz's Selig sind die Toten.  The ACGC was also awarded the PEACE Trophy.
The choir also performed Benedictio by Urmas Sisask and Koyu no Tebulul by Filipino composer Eudenice Palaruan.  
Philippine Charge d’affaires, a.i. Hjayceelyn Quintana praised the ACGC for gracefully representing the Philippines in one of Europe’s top-tier chorale contests.
In an email to GMA News Online, senior Atenean Mikhael Llado, current president and baritone of the ACGC, said: “We are currently in our planning stage for our next projects but the ACGC is looking forward to take part in the movement to develop and promote Philippine choral culture across different communities.” Llado recalled the cast's hard work in preparing for the 2011 and 2012 European Concert-Competition Tours. The tour cast of the ACGC is comprised of 20 males and 19 females, 37 of whom are singing members while one is a production staff and the other is their conductor.
“Perhaps the 'wildest' and 'most surreal' chapter in this ACGC experience was the preparation for the two-consecutive European Tours -- nine hours of rehearsals a week turned into 15 hours a week as the departure date for Europe crept in,” Llado said.
The ACGC won at Varna, Bulgaria in 2011, catapulting them to the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing (EGP) the following year.
Although the EGP title was won by a Swedish choir, the ACGC still made history upon winning three awards in Ireland, including the grand prize — the Fleischmann International Trophy. 
Llado recalled: “Before I entered college, I never had any aspirations to become a chorister or whatsoever. Most of my high school classmates were hyped to join the ACGC, and I joined the bandwagon to satisfy my curiosity.”
Also known as “Gorby,” Llado recalled that he joined ACGC because he wanted to try “something new for once” and never expected to pass the auditions. However, things shifted when the ACGC “took him down on its roller-coaster road that changed his life forever”.
“My ears were enlightened by the joy of singing in communion with other souls - a myriad of voices sweeping along each as chords are spontaneously formed along the way,” he recounted.
Asked about his message for the Ateneo community, Llado said: “After being away for quite some time, we are all excited sing our songs to you once again. We hope our achievements in Europe have made you truly proud.”  
To other aspiring choirs, he said: “Music is destined to be shared and brought out to the larger communities. We are really proud to belong to the Philippine choral community - one that aims to showcase Filipino talent to the world yet looking inward to develop the community itself.” 
He credits Irvinne Redor, Will Tan, Miggi Angangco, along with the whole choir and Professor Hermo, for contributing to ACGC's success.
'Two Worlds, One Voice'
Meanwhile, the ACGC held a concert entitled “Two Worlds, One Voice,” last May 9 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin with one of the best Irish choirs, the New Dublin Voices. 
Among the audience were the Diplomatic Corps in Ireland, members of the Irish Parliament, and the members of the Filipino Community Network (FCN), the national umbrella group of Filipino organizations in Ireland.  For the finale of the concert, the ACGC and the New Dublin Voices sang “Danny Boy” and “Canturog na Nonoy” an Irish folk song and a Bicolano lullaby.
The ACGC was also featured prominently in Ireland’s leading national newspapers — The Irish Times and the Irish Independent — for their excellent performance. The ACGC will be rehearsing soon for their homecoming concert which is entitled “A Return to Song: The 2012 European Tour Homecoming Concert” on June 10, 2012, 7:30pm at the Philam Life Auditorium, U.N. Avenue. - VVP/ELR, GMA News