Aug 172016

WATCH: UP’s Korus singing “Sana’y Wala Nang Wakas” in Toronto. MARISA ROQUE

TORONTO, Ontario — To say that the University of the Philippines’ Korus capped its “Tour of the Americas” with a dazzling single performance in Toronto the evening of Saturday, August 13, would be an understatement.

The 17-member University of the Philippines Concert Chorus brought the audience to its collective feet through four foot-stamping encores at the end of its three-hour performance of classic choral offerings dubbed “kontemporarius,” native music or “katutubo” and modern musical arrangements with a twist of well executed choreography called “koreokapela.”


UPAA Toronto members Fanny Calucag, Maripi Leynes and Rose Nagallo are part of the registration. MARISA ROQUE

The well-attended concert was held at Toronto International Celebration Church, the group’s soaring harmonies melding beautifully under the direction of artistic director and conductor Professor Janet (Jai) Sabas-Aracama.

Korus began the evening with “Vytautas Miskinis’ Diffusa Est Gratia” (Grace Is Poured).  Glorious cascades of sacred choral music poured over the audience and set the stage for the “Gloria” from Ryan Cayabyab’s “Misa,” Ralph Manuel’s “Alleluia,” a mashup of “I Believe” and “Ave Maria” by Bread and Tucker, and Moses Hogan’s “My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord,” among others.


Ken Quismundo and his wife Beth prepare to enjoy the show. MARISA ROQUE

After the first intermission, Korus switched the mood from the divine to the mundane through familiar and well-loved folk tunes of the Philippines.  Toe tapping renditions of “Katakataka” by Suarez-Laureola, followed by a fisherman’s tale titled “Pasigin” by Eudy Palaruan, then the romantic “Sana’y Wala Nang Wakas” by Robert Delgado, the “Urian Medley” by Annie Nepomuceno, “Hataw Na” by Teresa Barrozo, “Urong Sulong” by Agot Espino, and “Kalesa”by Nhick Pacis held the audience spellbound.

The second intermission saw a rush for the food concessions manned by FV foods and gave the audience time to process their awe at the vocal prowess and professionalism of Korus members.  Kenneth Quismundo, a UP graduate and now a Toronto resident, gushed, “I saw and heard them 20 years ago, and I want to compare their performance then and now.  They are phenomenal.”


Soprano Tiara Sabas Aracama helps sell CDs and DVDs after the show. MARISA ROQUE

The “koreokapela” portion, the last section of the show, had Korus singing and dancing to several selections that included a Tribute to the King of Pop (Michael Jackson) and One Day More (Alain Boublil and Claude Michel Schonberg) from the Broadway hit Les Miserables.

The Toronto performance was the last segment of Korus’ tour, as it was set to fly home the following day Saturday, August 13, which also happened to be the birthday of Prof. .Jai, who was honored with a rendition of the “Happy Birthday” song, a bouquet and a celebratory cake onstage.

WATCH: UP’s Korus in Toronto singing “Bayan Ko.” MARISA ROQUE

Korus’ appearance in Toronto was sponsored by the University of the Philippines Alumni Association of Toronto.  Alice Bustamante Herrera, the president of UPAAT stated, “The proceeds of the event will go toward UPAA Toronto’s endowment funds and scholarships for deserving students at the University of the Philippines.”

UPAAT members and volunteers billeted and supported the members of Korus during their Toronto stay.

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