News Feature: Young Ilocano singers vie for another gold in world choir games

OAG CITY, July 7 (PIA) — The world-class choral group, Samiweng Singers of the Ilocos Norte National High School, has flown to Cincinnati, USA for the 7th World Choir Games, from July 4 to 14.

The 11-day choral group competition brought together dozens of choir singers from all over the world to bring home the gold in two separate categories: the Champions Competition and the Open Competition.

Once admitted to the Champions Competition, choirs compete in 23 categories including jazz, gospel and spiritual.

An international panel of seven musical expert judges will then evaluate the participants and award a point value to the performance and thereby award bronze, silver and gold medals.

The gold-medal winning choir with the highest point total will be named the “Champion of the World Choir Games” in its specific category.

The Samiweng group won their first global gold medals in the world choir games in Vietnam in 2011.

Led by their choir conductors Robert Caluya and Sherberk Cabrales, the 30-member Samiweng singers pooled their resources and sought fund support from government and non-government sectors to send themselves to the international choir competitions.

An update from Caluya’s facebook account showed that the group had just earned their two standing ovations yesterday, July 6, after they rendered their music in the folklore and youth of equal voices categories.

“We just got our two standing ovations. It is tiring but it is all worth it,” Caluya said in his message to the group’s followers here in the country.

Caluya said the competition results may be announced today, July 7. The Samiweng singers are also scheduled to do a concert before the Filipino community in Cincinnati on July 10 before they fly back to the country on July 11.

Other choral participants from the Philippines include the Zamboanga Hermosa Chorale, Servant of God Police Choir, Philippine Kammerata Singers, Quezon City Performing Arts Childrens’ Choir, Olongapo Youth Choir, Mirriam College High School Glee Club and Vox Viri.

Caluya said the group’s venture to international competitions was a product of years of dedication to good music beginning 1993.

Members of the choral group are mostly high school freshmen who have undergone extensive training under Caluya and Cabrales.

The Samiweng is a campus-based choral that began sharing their music with the local community. The group is often invited to render music to various government and non-government functions in the province and around the country. (ANL/CCA-PIA 1 Ilocos Norte)

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