24 October 2012 – The Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, in cooperation with the Office of the City Mayor of Kuala Lumpur, marked the recent signing of the Framework Agreement between the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, with a much-applauded musical concert dubbed as “A Celebration of Peace,” featuring the highly-acclaimed University of the Philippines Concert Chorus on October 23 at the Kuala Lumpur Cultural Center, Panggung Bandaraya.
Some 300 invited guests attended the cultural exchange program, including the spouse of the Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak, Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah Mansor as guest of honor and Kuala Lumpur City Mayor Datuk Ahmad Phesal Talib.
Among the other guests present were Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusop, Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Deputy Secretary General Selwyn Das, the members of the diplomatic corps, prominent Filipino and Malaysian businessmen, art and music enthusiasts, and members of the media.
In his opening remarks, Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia J. Eduardo Malaya said, “There have been celebrations in the Philippines, most especially in Manila and Mindanao. It is but fitting that we bring the joy to and have a celebration in Malaysia, which played a pivotal role in the quest for peace. The successful peace process made more special by the presence of Prime Minister Najib and Datin Rosmah in Manila, marks also an important milestone in Philippines-Malaysia relations”.
“Tonight’s ‘A Celebration of Peace’, is thus a tribute to the Philippines’ warm friendship and abiding partnership with Malaysia, as well as all others who have been our partners in the peace making process,” he added.
Kuala Lumpur City Mayor Datuk Ahmad Phesal Talib addressed the full-packed audience, citing “the significant contributions of the Filipino community to the vibrancy and vitality of Malaysia, and specifically to the City of Kuala Lumpur.”
“Filipino nurses in several hospital in Kuala Lumpur minister to our health, Filipino teachers help educate our youth, Filipino software and industrial engineers help build our infrastructures, and most popular of all, Filipino performers entertain us at the lounges of our finer hotels and bars in the city,” he said.
The UPCC opened the concert with a scintillating performance of John August Pamintuan’s “De Profundis”, a technically complicated composition characterized by intense and profound emotion. The audience responded with prolonged applause, and their rapt attention was sustained throughout the one and a half hour performance. The choir followed with Filipino compositions such as “Pasigin”, “Tuksuhan”, “Kruhay” and “Pangako sa ’Yo”, which were well appreciated. “Pangako sa ’Yo” is a popular song in Malaysia, as it was the theme song of a hit Filipino telenovela, which was shown in the country a few years back.
The audience were almost on their feet with the lively tunes of “Tayo’y Magsayawan”, an original from the VST and Co., “Hataw Na” (Get into the Groove), and Broadway songs from “My Fair Lady”, “Camelot”, and “Dream Girls”.
The choir’s rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” and “Heal the World”, which closed the concert were greeted with standing ovations from the appreciative crowd, who asked for encore. The UPCC obliged with the audience with the Beetle’s song “Let it Be”.
Shirley Burnett was moved by the University of the Philippines’ students’ singing virtuosity and versatility. “They are terrific. We need to have them back in Kuala Lumpur.”
“Tonight’s performance was so inspiring to our Filipino-Malaysian children, making them proud of their Philippine heritage”, said Evelyn Granda.
The DBKL dance troupe also performed cultural dancesin symmetry with the UPCC for the opening and closing numbers of the program.
The UPCC will also perform at a by-invitation event before university students, faculty members and other guests at the Universiti Malaya's (UM) Experimental Theatre on October 24. The event is expected to bring together music and performance teachers and students from around Kuala Lumpur, as well as students taking Philippine and Asian studies, among others.
The choir will then fly to Kuching for a performance on the evening of October 25 at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, in cooperation with the Rotary Club of Kuching.
The UPCC's visit and performances in Malaysia was made possible with the generous support from AirAsia Philippines, PLDT Malaysia, MegaEvents and Borneo Tours.
Since its establishment in 1962, the UPCC has metamorphosed from being a university chorale into a musical force of national and world stature. Aside from its undeniable musical prowess and versatility in performing classical, Filipino folk, pop, and Broadway genres, the group is recognized in the music world as the pioneer of choreographed song for a choir. Under the leadership of Conductor and Artistic Director Prof. Janet Sabas-Aracama, supported by UPCC President and Assistant Conductor Emmanuel P. de Leon, Jr., the Concert Chorus continues to foster friendship, goodwill and love for music across the globe. END