They are back! The University of the Philippines Concert Chorus (UPCC) or simply Korus, the official choir of the University of the Philippines is back in Sacramento after sixteen years. But they made such a great impression to people that they will always be remembered.
It was about this time in 1996 that the UPCC, then on its 12th international tour, participated in the World View Festival of the Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra. Led by the late Dean Reynaldo T. Paguio, UPCC represented the Philippines as one of the countries invited to perform with orchestral accompaniment. At one of the rehearsals at the Sacramento Community Center, then-Mayor Anne Rudin introduced the local Filipino-American community to Maestro Eugene Castillo, a rising Filipino-American conductor who was a guest conductor for the Festival.
UPCC members stayed with very generous Fil-Am host families during their visit at that time. They were housed, fed, shopped for, spoiled to the hilt and toured around Sacramento. They won the hearts of not only the audience at the World View Festival but also those who heard them at a UPCC concert with their full repertoire.
Friendships last forever. On March 1997, on their 13th International tour, the UPCC rejoined their host families for another sold-out concert in Sacramento. They traveled to different countries across America, Europe and Asia, as they would again for several times, each time bringing home prestigious awards as winners in the various competitions.
According to its website www.UPConcertChorus.com, UPCC began in 1962 at a time of great political unrest in the Philippines. Then UP President Gen. Carlos P. Romulo decreed that the UPCC, which was then called the UP Mixed Choir, to be the official choir of the entire University of the Philippines System. Based at the UP’s flagship campus in Diliman, Quezon City, the UPCC was originally trained under conductor Dean Ramon Tapales and associate conductors Johnny Ramos, Dean Ramon P. Santos and Flora Rivera.
In 1969, the late Dean Paguio took over as conductor. He took the UPCC to a higher level of competition – international. From 1974 to 1988, UPCC went on seven international concert tours. In 1974, it was named one of the world’s best choirs at the Lincoln Center International Choral Festival in New York. In the 90’s it went on six international tours in the U.S. and Europe.
In October 1999, with the sudden death of Dean Paguio, the leadership was passed on to Professor Janet Sabas-Aracama, the current conductor, who was a member of the faculty at the UP College of Music. A soloist, she was an acclaimed distinguished musician, both as a conductor and a performer.
Last May 4, 2012, the UPCC celebrated their 50th anniversary and went on their 20th international concert tour. In November of last year, the ALIW Awards Foundation honored the UPCC, already elevated to the Hall of Fame earlier as the best choral group, with the Lifetime Achievement Award, the highest award given.
This December 2013, the UPCC will embark on their 21st International tour and will visit Seattle, Washington, and California with concerts scheduled in Vallejo, Union City, Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Diego, among other cities. The tour, S’Aliw Himig, Isang Lakbay Taglamig 2013, translated as Musical Entertainment, Winter Tour 2013, is scheduled as follows in Northern California:
On Sunday, December 22, 2013, at 4:00 PM, The Filipino Community of Solano County Inc., and Friends of Korus Foundation Inc., will hold a UPCC concert. It will be at the Filipino Community Center, 611 Amador Street (corner Florida Street) in Vallejo, California. Tickets are $20 general admission and $50 sponsor – reserved seating. For ticket information, call Marie Berenguer (707) 642 5364, Norma Placido (707) 643-8057 or Eloise Scott (707) 642 5643.
On Saturday, December 28, 2013, there will be a concert at 6:00 PM at the Union City Apostolic Church, 33700 Alvarado Niles Road, Union City, California. Donation is $20 and for more information, call Jim Navarro (510) 468 3402. Sponsors are Itleong/Vera Cruz Coalition, Rotary Club of FUN Sunset, Knights of Columbus Oakland Diocese Chapter, St. James the Apostolic Church and the University of the Philippines Alumni Association.
Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda benefit concert
The following day, Sunday, December 29, 2013, Eskwela Natin and the Friends of Korus Foundation Inc., will present the UPCC in concert at 7:30 PM at the Saint Ignatius Loyola Parish Church, 3235 Arden Way, Sacramento California. Tickets are $25 or $100 VIP sponsor with two reserved seats. Partial list of co-sponsors are the following: University of the Philippines Alumni Association of Sacramento and Vicinities, Sacramento Pasay City/Manila Sister City, American Legion Post 604, Bayanihan of Sacramento USA, Crossings TV Channel, Filipino Community of Sacramento and Vicinity, Filipino Fiesta of Sacramento, Filipino Women’s Club, Golden State Lions Club, Maharlika Lions Club, Operation Yolanda, Sinag-tala Filipino Theatre and Performing Arts Association, Valley Hi Lions Club, and the Visayan Association of Sacramento and Vicinity.
What started as a major fund-raiser for Eskwela Natin of Sacramento, it became a major community-wide effort to raise funds for the victims of typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda that devastated the Philippines in one of the worst, if not the worst, super typhoons. To be part of this humanitarian cause and for ticket information, please contact any member of the sponsoring organizations or Dolores V. Diaz at (916) 396-2351 or Ester Carrasco at (916) 386-2716.