Blog posts by the members of the
UP Concert Chorus

Publisher:
Gabriel Villorente
Editor:
Pola Esguerra del Monte
Associate Editor:
Maxine Rodriguez

A Life of Dance and A New Adventure

Words Patricia Paraso

Just like any other high school graduate, I was an aspiring student with big dreams. I got my break when I was accepted into the university to join the UP Pep Squad in my freshman year. This is my story.

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I used to be a gymnast since the age of five, and gymnastics was amazing as an individual sport because you got to showcase yourself to others in all your strength, flexibility and glory, daring them during competitions to perform better than you. Little did I know how far off this was from the rollercoaster ride ahead.

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Is it Single Awareness Day for you? NBSB/NGSB? Who cares?! The UP Concert Chorus is here for you!

Valentine’s Day is not about sulking on your relationship status. It is celebrating the love for others whether romantically, as family, or as friends. There is no friend-zoned, seen-zoned, #foreveralone on Valentine’s Day because we, UPCC will be with you!

This exclusive compilation of love songs from Korus will keep you company on this special day! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Last December, Gigi Calvo (Soprano 1), decided to produce vlogs (video blog or video log) of our recently concluded tour titled: S’Aliw Himig, Isang Lakbay Taglamig 2013.

This vlog depicts experiences of the members when travelling, via airplane, and what usually happens inside the airbus or even in the airport especially when we have long layovers. 

Sharing you the "fun" in flying, enjoy Gigi’s vlog!

Lights, Camera, Starstruck!

Words Pola Esguerra del Monte 

Before my dancing shoes tapped the stage, the hair gel on my head melted under spotlights, and before a thousand pairs of eye met mine, there was first a camera that rolled.

I was nineteen, a month-old UP Concert Chorus trainee, or a fetus in Korus years. Heck, I wasn’t a fetus. I was probably even metaphorically younger than that. A zygote yet to undergo mitosis, newly released in an environment where it would be nurtured and developed before its grand launch to the outside world.

Only, the UPCC launches zygotes before they are even human-like. In non-anatomical terms, a trainee needs to perform, even if he is still a trainee. We are trained to learn by doing, by practicing on actual stages, in the eyes of real spectators, no matter how raw we are.

Destiny, with the approval of Ma’am Jai, decided what a trainee’s first performance would be. It could be a wedding gig, a major concert, or a CCP production. It depended on whatever show UPCC was involved in at that time.

Mine happened to be the first mass on the wake of a former President—an event which would be aired live on national TV.

Thus, when my turn to be baptized came, I was jostled unto the TV screen, in front of millions of televiewers here and abroad for my first performance.

And boy, was I starstruck with myself.

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KORUS RECOMMENDS: TRELLIS

Words Erich Panganiban

Welcome to the first edition of Korus Recommends. Here we will be sharing with you Korus’ love for (aside from music of course!) food, fashion and gadgets. For this premiere edition, let’s start with something we all can’t live without. No, it’s not your iPad or iPhone or your nifty S4, it’s something we REALLY cannot live without – FOOD! 

Korus has long had a love affair with food and one particular place that nearly every batch of trainees, members and alumni have all been to and swear by is Trellis. People actually say that you are not a bonafide UP student if you haven’t eaten at this haven of caloric and cholesterol-pleasing delights.

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The official logo of Trellis, as shown on the restaurant’s Facebook page

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WARMING UP: PRE-VOCALIZATION EXERCISES 101

Words Lindo Lindo

            Filipinos love music, and ditto for singing. It seems likely that in every family reunion or friendly get-together, the videoke machine is a usual fixture. One person may just randomly grab the microphone, key in the song code and burst into Gloria Gaynor song. I, myself, have sung countless I Will Survive’s, but mind you, it’s not an easy feat to ‘survive’ this song especially with the challenge of accurately hitting the high notes, and of course, the obligatory dance a la Ricky Martin it entails. One must live up to the song, you know!

            Preparation is the key to successful singing. Joining the UP Concert Chorus, I learned exercises that can help a singer in delivering an excellent performance. It is a common routine in our group to do vocal warm-ups and whole-body exercises prior to rehearsals and performances. These pre-vocalization exercises help the members release muscle tension in the head, face, neck, shoulders, abdomen/diaphragm, back and leg—which affects good vocal production. Doing these warm-ups relaxes the body and opens the throat—allowing the singer to hit the notes with support and avoiding strain during the vocalises.

            So, with the special participation of some fellow members, I am sharing some of my favorite— fun and easy— pre-vocalization exercises:

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LIP TRILLS, LIP ROLLS, LIP BUBBLES or FLAPPING LIPS

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Top 7 reasons: Why we love checking in

Words Gabriel Fojas Villorente

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We all remember the time when the term “check-in” referred to an announcement of an arrival at a hotel, airport or sea port, only. But now, with the advent of geolocation-enabled apps and social network services, we can “check-in” at a restaurant, mall, even a classroom, a friend’s home, or our own home. By turning on our mobile device’s GPS and tapping the place we’re at from a list when, we index and tag our location and share the experience to our followers and friends. 

Geolocation-enabled apps and check-in features are fast becoming a trend when posting online. May it be in the form of a video, photo, post or even a tweet about your status, the information about the location enhances the sharing experience.  I have listed here the Top 7 reasons why the UPCC members are fond of checking-in.

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Recipes of the world: Spaghetti a la Carbonara

Words Gigi Calvo

Every home cooked meal Korus members partake of is an experience of “love on a plate.” With every meal, we feel our hosts’ hospitality and love for us, especially through the food they tediously prepare for us.

 

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I remember loving the Filipino version of a famous Italian dish which we also refer to by the same name: Carbonara. It is a pasta dish smothered with white sauce made from heavy cream, cheese, spices and bacon bits. Sometimes, Filipinos would even put other proteins and a dash of sugar to bring out the sweet & salty Pinoy taste. As a kid, I would look forward to waking up to the smell of this dish whenever there’s a special occasion at home.

Little did I know that it is miles away from the Italian Carbonara.

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Editorial

Travel, they say, is the best form of education. Whenever we go on tours, we not only leave footprints and echoes of our voices behind. Every time we step on the bus to drive to the next stop or take airplanes to fly to the next country, we turn our backs on a myriad of places, culinary adventures, people, families and paths we may never cross again. But likewise, we never leave without carrying something new.

Every time we come home, we are never the same person who left two or six months prior. We carry experiences that we never imagined we would ever try—we’ve latched on the New York subway trains during rush hour to arrive on time for a show, rubbed elbows with royalty whom we performed to, devoured pasta and gelato in every meal in Italy, visited Rizal’s apartment in Barcelona. We’ve met people—mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters who became our families away from home. We’ve made friends with people who don’t speak our language. There are times when we fell in love. 

We will attempt to chronicle those here. We will share the recipes we learned from our Italian mammas, reviews on French wines and cheeses, travelogues of the places we’ve set our feet on. We will tell stories on how we stood being in a 24-hour bus ride across three states or how it felt like to sing to the Queen of England. This, we hope, will be an emblem of the wealth of lessons we’ve learned, a scrapbook souvenir from the places where our voices have taken us.

As we always say in UPCC, traineeship does not stop when we become members because there will always be new things to savor and new experiences to be lived. They become new stories waiting to be told.