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Quezon City's Cultural Groups: The City's Pride

Otherwise known as the Singing Bamboos of the Philippines, is a unique youth orchestral marching band that draws exceptional music from unconventional bamboo instruments.

by Jhaypee Guia on July 21, 2012
Quezon City

The Philippine Madrigal Singers

Pangkat Kawayan

Otherwise known as the Singing Bamboos of the Philippines, is a unique youth orchestral marching band that draws exceptional music from unconventional bamboo instruments. It is a complete bamboo ensemble, believed to be the only one of its kind in the world and which produces standard music comparable to that of a symphony orchestra. It can also be a marching band.

The 3 sets of young musicians (ages range from 10-24 years) are composed of elementary, secondary and college students of Quezon City and Manila. The Orchestra is under the baton of Mr. Victor O. Toledo who is also the musical Director, composer, arranger, and instructor while the touring group, composed of 21 members, is under the supervision of tour leader Ms. Laura Gorospe and production coordinator Ms. Elena Carlos. The musical instruments of the Pangkat Kawayan, handcrafted from 6 of the 30 known species of the native Filipino bamboo instruments of various designs, shapes, and sizes, include the following; 72 musical tubes (bumbong) 3 marimbas (talunggating), 3 pianos (tipangklung) 10 Moslem-style xylophone (gabang), 20 musical rattles (alugtug), flute (tulali), clapper (bungkaka), musical knocker (kalatok), pipe (diwdiwas).

The orchestra plays a wide selection of musical pieces consisting of local and international folksongs and compositions, contemporary, and light classics.

Q.C. Symphonic Band

By virtue of the City Ordinance sponsored by former Q.C. Councilor Jose Paculdo, the Q.C. Brass Band was established in 1989 under the supervision of the Cultural and Tourism Affairs Office.

Its first live performance was on September 5, 1989 during the traditional flag-raising ceremony of the City Hall employees.

Originally composed of 59 playing members, the band has been giving performances for special occasions and events hosted by the city government, during fiestas in different barangays, and upon the invitation of private companies, non-government, civic and religious organizations.

On June 12, 1997, the band won the Best Conductor and the Best Band Awards in the Metro Manila Band Competition held at the Luneta Grandstand under the sponsorship of the Philippine Centennial Movement, MMDA Chapter.

It was on August 25, 1997, in celebration of Linggo Ng Wika, that the band became one of the guest performers in Dr. Feliciano's evening program aired on DWWW. This was followed by a series of concerts around Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

Now popularly called the Q. C. Symphonic Band, the group is composed of 63 members including 2 band conductors - Mr. Wilfredo Cruz , Mr. Larry Barcelos and one assistant band conductor, Mr. Arnel Sevillano.

The Quezon City Performing Arts Development Program

The group was established in 1994 by the local government of Quezon City through the initiative of three of the country's most distinguished dance professionals in order to seek out gifted and artistically inclined children from among the city's marginalized sectors, and provide them with free training in the performing arts. Aside from developing their inborn talents and offering them a venue through which to express their artistic merits, the program endeavored to instill underprivileged children with a sense of self-worth, and inculcate in them the importance of discipline, hard work, proper conduct, and a philosophy of excellence.

In September 2001, the Quezon City Performing Arts Development Foundation, Inc (QCPADFI) was established to manage the city government's Performing Arts Development Program. Its Board of Trustees, comprised of noted individuals from the cultural and business sectors, represents an effort by the city's leadership to bring in the experience and skills of the private sector in order to set the agenda for the unconstrained expansion and development of the Program. Together with the City Mayor, the Foundation has crafted a holistic plan that strategically addresses the various concerns of the Program such as the technical and artistic aspects, recruitment and student development, outreach and audience expansion, financial matters, and community building.

The gifted scholars are taught ballet, modern dance, jazz and the country's folk dances. Since the program's inception, the children have entertained local and foreign audiences with their spirited performances.

Ateneo Glee Club

The first private collegiate chorale in the Philippines. Appointed conductor was Jose Mossessgeld Santiago, a 1911 Ateneo alumnus are a basso profundo who became the first Filipino to sing at La Scala de Milan.

In the early 50s, the hiatus between the Padre Faura and Loyola Heights eras was bridged by the revival group of Fr. James Reuter, S.J. Soon after this 7-year stint, Fr. Ruane and Prof. Sales gave the warblers their first laurels (2 first prizes and 1 second in a national competition in the 1960s); followed by Fr. Antonio Cuna's return to the choir.

The decades of the 50s, 60s and 70s produced alumni who made their marks in such fields as the arts, entertainment, business and politics. Notable among them were Domingo Siazon, Roman Cruz, Noel Trinidad, Subas Herrero, Leo Rialp, Morino Duque and Willy Cruz who formed the Ambivalent Crowd.

The Glee Club became a mixed chorus in 1974 under the hand of Noel Velasco who led the singers in winning numerous top prizes in the national contests as well as interscholastic tilts in Metro Manila.

It reached new heights in 1979 under the leadership of Joel Navarro. The Glee Club bagged the first prize in the NAMCYA in 1980 and was later transformed into a chorale of international statue. Among their triumphs were the first prize in Cantonigros, Spain and the fifth in Arezzo, Italy in 1983; and the Best Choir honors in Loreto, Italy and Nancy, France in 1989.

In 1990, under Eudenice Palaruan's baton, the Glee Club continued to perform around the country. When Palaruan was granted music scholarship in Berlin, the choir again came under the aegis of Navarro. A number of his proteges rose to prominence such as Angelique Lazo, Arnel De Pano, Dina Bonnevie, The Company and Trina Belamide.

The group's success is the result of its untiring efforts to strive for musical excellence while promoting Filipino culture, tradition and faith. The Glee Club became world champion when it embarked on a European Tour to marks its 79th Year as well as the Ateneo University's 140th Anniversary.

The Philippine Madrigal Singers

Tracing its beginning to 1963, are a group of students, faculty members and Alumni from the different colleges of the University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City. The group is bound by a passion to sing and unite with a goal to raise choral singing in the Asian setting to the heights of the international art form that it is today. Their repertoire, spanning music from the Renaissance to contemporary periods, continues to enthrall music enthusiasts the world over, touching the hearts of ordinary men and women in an unforgettable experience that recognizes no race, gender or creed.

The Madrigal Singers first earned critical acclaim before a sophisticated music audience of the prestigious First Choruses of the World Festivals held at the Lincoln Center in New York in 1969. This Concert welcomed them to the international choral community, eventually paving their way into joining the most distinguished international choral competitions Spittal (Australia), Arezzo and Gorizia (Italy), Neuchatel (Switzerland), Debrecen (Hungary), Varna (Bulgaria), Tolosa (Spain), Marktoberdorf (Germany) in which they proudly spotlighted the Philippines on the world's cultural map.

Having more than 200 choral and vocal pedagogues graduate from its ranks, the Philippine Madrigal Singers have pioneered the Madz Et Al, the largest gathering of choral groups conducted by current members and alumni in a yearly festival that has become the longest lasting musical tradition of its kind in the Philippines.

The ensemble's mission and dedication in perfecting their art draws its inspiration and direction from the persevering and humble guidance of their founder and moving spirit - the internationally-acclaimed choirmaster Professor Andrea O. Veneracion, who was bestowed the highest honor given to a Filipino artist- the National Artists for Music Award.

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