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Concert marks first Filipino choral group to perform solo at the Walt Disney Concert Hall

By: - Columnist
/ 12:22 AM August 02, 2014

PCS-LA celebrates its 10th anniversary with “I Will Sing Forever.” HYDEE URSOLINO ABRAHAN

LOS ANGELES—The Philippine Chamber Singers-Los Angeles (PCS-LA) will be the first Filipino choral group to perform solo at the famed Walt Disney Concert Hall. The group will mark that milestone when it presents its 10th anniversary concert, “I Will Sing Forever,” at LA’s world-renowned, Frank Gehry-designed hall with its curving steel walls on Saturday, Aug. 16, at 7:30 p.m.

Founded by Anthony “Gelo” Francisco, formerly of the UP Madrigal Singers, PCS-LA has become one of the top choral groups in LA. Gelo, who  studied music as a voice major under Prof. Andrea O. Veneracion, is also the group’s artistic director-conductor.

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The PCS-LA members are—soprano: Marivic Francisco, Kit Buhion, Charmaine Normandia, Marnie Santiago and Svetlanna Gargantiel; alto: Ana Burog, Apple Ogan, Lisa Ulanday, Lorien Dador, Jennifer Morelos, Jackie Villanueva, Regeline Castillo and Judith Guerrero; tenor: Alex Bao, Dino Padallan, Louie Ulanday, Noel Anzures, Justin Sabino and John Mina; bass: Gelo, Emmanuel Miranda, Rainer Villanueva, Tom Madrid and Novem Cabios (guest singer).

Tickets are available through Ticketmaster, or at the Walter Disney Concert Hall box office. More information about the chorale is available at www.pcsla.org or https://www.facebook.com/PCSLA.

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Excerpts of our interview with Gelo:

What are you looking forward to about the PCS-LA performing at the Walt Disney Concert Hall (WDCH)?

I’m very much looking forward to performing Filipino choral music for the first time at WDCH and seeing mostly Filipinos and Filipino-Americans, who are hopefully wearing Filipiniana, filling the concert hall and being proud.

For you, what have been the five most memorable performances of PCS-LA over the years?

Performing Beethoven’s “Ninth Symphony” at the Hollywood Bowl, under maestro Gustavo Dudamel (his inaugural concert as the conductor of the LA Philharmonic); “Mozart’s Requiem” at the Carnegie Hall; a medley of “modern haranas” at the Hollywood Bowl for Apl.d.ap’s “Take You to the Philippines” concert; the historic “Mahler’s No. 8 – Symphony of a Thousand” at the Shrine Auditorium, under maestro Gustavo Dudamel; the Los Angeles Holiday Celebration every Christmas Eve for three consecutive times, and singing Christmas carols for the homeless at a feeding center in San Fernando Valley, California.

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What’s unique about your repertoire for this show?

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No choral group has ever performed Filipino-composed and -arranged songs at the WDCH. For the first time, an all-Pinoy chorale will perform these songs in this venue.

Some of the numbers we’re performing include a medley of Manoling Francisco, S.J.’s work as a tribute to him and his well-loved music, including a chorus with “cats” in it, and a ’60s medley. We’ll also feature the music of Filipino composers and arrangers like Ryan Cayabyab, Robin Estrada, Robert Delgado, Ruben Federizon, Anna Abeleda-Piquiero, George Hernandez, Lucio San Pedro, Nitoy Gonzales, Louie Ramos and Eudenice Palaruan, to name a few.

What can the audience expect from your guest performers?

They can expect only the best from our guest artists, who are also PCS-LA’s friends: Paul Concepcion, Perfecto de Castro, Asuncion Ojeda, Robert Shroder, Elson Trinidad, Immaculate Heart of Mary Children’s Choir, under Pete Avendaño and past members of PCS-LA.

How did you manage to keep the tickets very reasonably priced?

We couldn’t have managed to keep the tickets reasonably priced if it weren’t for the generosity of Grace Mercado Ouano of FoodTrients.  We seldom meet people like Grace, who believes in the principle of promoting and uplifting the arts, especially in the Fil-Am community. The PCS-LA members and artistic team are all volunteers; they’re doing it for their passion for music.

Our guest artists have waived their professional fees as their way of making our shared statement,that coming together as a community of artists with common artistic values is first and foremost essential for community-building.

PCS-LA believes in the philosophy that music should be shared at little to no cost. We fervently hope that, by keeping the tickets affordable, it would mean people taking this opportunity to experience the Walt Disney Concert Hall and being part of a historic event in the Fil-Am community of Angeles.

E-mail [email protected] Follow him at http://twitter.com/nepalesruben.

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TAGS: Anthony “Gelo” Francisco, choral group, Filipino choral group, Los Angeles, PCS-LA, The Philippine Chamber Singers-Los, UP Madrigal Singers, USA, Walt Disney
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