By: Sr. Em Alcantara –
Singing together is one of the things that were first prohibited in this pandemic. There is a high risk of spreading the virus through singing or talking.
But music should continue, thus, virtual choir projects were born.
Despite not being able to see each other to rehearse and gather, the Shrine of Jesus Children and Youth Choir (SOJCYC) made music together at the comfort of their own homes. They have undergone vocal training, sight singing lessons, and learning of songs via Google Meet or Zoom. They initiated virtual projects, like the recitation of the Oratio Imperata together with the Youth Ministry, and the singing of Hymn to Jesus with the Shrine of Jesus volunteers, with a message from our Shrine Rector, Msgr. Bobby Canlas, to celebrate the Shrine’s 21st Anniversary last July 9.
One important project they accomplished this year is their participation in the Madz et al Virtual Choral Festival. A first for this annual festival, it featured choirs trained by members and alumni of the Philippine Madrigal Singers from all over the world.
With 66 participating choirs from all over the world, the festival was shown every Sunday, from the first of November to mid-December via the Facebook Page and YouTube channel of the Philippine Madrigal Singers Music Studio. The SOJCYC was featured on November 29. A selection of newly written works, fresh arrangements, and some classics were heard and seen in the event.
For the festival, the SOJCYC premiered a work newly commissioned by the choir, written by Mindanao-based composer Alshamir Bryan Aripuddin, entitled Awitin Mo (Sing). The text talks about singing despite the circumstances, incorporating local languages and sounds. They sang another song, entitled “Our voices will be heard,” along with other choirs presented in their show date.
The Madz et al network of choirs is composed of groups conducted and led by members, alumni, and friends of the Philippine Madrigal Singers. This writer, who is the youth choir’s founder and conductor and Shrine of Jesus Music Ministry coordinator, Sr. Em Alcantara, is an alumna of the Philippine Madrigal Singers. The SOJCYC is part of this 37-year old annual choral festival since 2008, and they have performed in venues such as the Philamlife Theater and Cultural Center of the Philippines.
With all the advanced technology accessible, no pandemic nor distance from one another can stop the choir from singing, serving, and sharing music with the community and now for the world to see.
For more updates and details about the choir, visit their Facebook Page, http://www.facebook.com/SOJCYC.