By Susanah Jane L. Lapa
In celebration of their 62nd anniversary and Andres Bonifacio’s 150th birth anniversary, the Manila Concert Choir (MCC) performed Saturday an original production entitled “Sabihin Mong Ikaw Ay Pilipino” at the Luce Auditorium.
MCC is one of the most active choirs in the country today, with over 24 concerts in 2012 alone.
“I think the reason why it continues to go on is because for the love of music and of course for the Lord. If the Lord has given you the challenge to sing then you do it as long as you’re alive,” said Dr. Romulo Pizana, the choir’s conductor.
Since its foundation in 1951 by Dr. Lois Florendo Bello, MCC has performed for a myriad of audiences and venues around the country and abroad.
The members of the choral group come from very diverse backgrounds, but many of them have ties with Silliman University.
Professor Leonor Briones, MCC’s president and chair of the Silliman University Board of Trustees, completed her degree in Business Administration at SU. She was accepted in the choir at the age of 21, singing as second alto at first but later trained to sing the highest range which is first soprano.
“Silliman is very lucky because it has the Luce Auditorium which has been around since my childhood, 50 years ago and until now it is still maintained and used by many amazing performers, so I encourage everyone to keep attending the cultural events,” Briones said.
The father of choir conductor, Pizaña, is also a Silliman alumnus. “The audience was very lively and very receptive and I think this just goes to show how you people here are very well exposed to music and culture, and of course I’ve always known that Silliman is very musical,” Pizaña said.
The choir paid tribute to beloved revolutionary icon Andres Bonifacio reprising songs from a famous Andres Bonifacio musical of the 1980s. They also incorporated theatrical aspects to the production, including dance and drama, which they had not done before.
SU President Ben S. Malayang III requested MCC to sing “Ang Bayan Ko.” The choir obliged and encouraged the audience to sing along.
During the final part of the show, Briones shared interesting facts with the audience. “I was busy with the Pork Barrel, so I was not able to memorize all the songs, that was why I was holding a copy throughout the show,” said the former national treasurer and currently lead convenor of Social Watch Philippines.
Briones also made a request to the audience, “The Manila Concert Choir has a Facebook page, like pod mo.”