Madz in Winnipeg

Madz at Winnipeg Art Gallery

By Leila Castro

For two hours, their perfect pitch voices transformed Winnipeg Art Gallery to a heaven on earth. The audience was wowed, with some people wiping away tears and others excitedly describing the goosebumps they felt. The Philippine Madrigal Singers, or Madz, sang without accompaniment of musical instruments. From their voices, they created every sound to complete a perfect symphony of orchestra. They effortlessly switched between instrumental and animal sounds, angelic and operatic singing, and even rapping like mainstream artists. These University of the Philippines (Diliman) based singers performed while sitting down. Madz Choirmaster Mark Anthony Carpio said that they are the only choir in the world that performs that way. Madz won prestigious international awards which include the European Grand Prix for Coral Singing in 1997 and 2007. In 2009, UNESCO gave Madz the title UNESCO Artist for Peace. Philippine National Artist for Music, Professor Andrea O. Veneracion, founded Madz in 1963.

On the afternoon of May 5, it was my first time to see them perform in person. When asked how it was, I described their performances as flawless. The concert was a magical experience. Months before that, JYU Production informed me that Madz will come to the city. I made sure not to miss the opportunity to see their most awaited concert. And what a blessing, I also had the chance to be a host parent to some of them. I remember the evening we welcomed Madz. I hosted their first dinner in Winnipeg at my humble home. My living room was filled with over twenty pieces of their luggage, but more importantly, it was filled with smiles, hugs, and hundreds of “Salamat po” from appreciative and enthusiastic young people despite being tired because of the long travel from Regina. On the day of the concert, like magic they transformed from exhausted travelers to world class performers. When I hear people excitedly talk about Madz’s performance that was nothing short of perfection, I feel a sense of pride knowing that I experienced not just to be an audience to their exceptional performances, but I also had the chance to be their host parent at my home during their brief stay in Winnipeg..

Madz began their journey in BC, Alberta, and Saskatchewan before coming to Winnipeg. Next, they will enchant Ontario and Quebec with their extraordinary performances. We cannot wait for their return to Winnipeg in two years.

Photo Credits: Leila Castro, Rene Castro, Rod Cantiveros, Pearl Reyes