Hundreds of Dabawenyos came to hear the University of the Philippines Symphony Orchestra in “Pasko at Musika ng UP Symphony Orchestra,” its first concert in Davao City, sponsored by the UP Office of the President. Youths, couples, the elderly, and family groups were seen arriving despite a sudden rainfall that coincided with the concert start time on December 20, 2022, at the USEP Sports and Cultural Center.
In return, the 65 musicians and conductor, Professor Josefino “Chino” Toledo, gave the audience more than two hours of music using violins and cellos, oboes and clarinets, horns and trumpets, basses, and percussion. Antonio Buenaventura’s “Mindanao Sketches” and Krogstad’s “Bells of Christmas” opened the show. Then, soprano Anya Evangelista and tenor Malvin Macasaet sang “Mga Kantang Bisaya” and "Minggoy" Lopez’s “Rosas Pandan,” respectively, followed by “O Soave Fanciulla,” a duet from Giacomo Puccini’s opera “La bohème.”
A medley of excerpts from Peter Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” ballet and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Phantom of the Opera” brought musical highs up until the intermission. Flutist Raymond Sarreal opened the second half as the soloist in Cécile Chaminade’s celebrated Flute Concertino, Op. 107, before the orchestra continued with “A Most Wonderful Christmas,” “Seasons Greetings,” and “Sleigh Ride.”
Finally, UP Mindanao’s Koro Kantahanay chorale lent their voices to Lucio San Pedro’s “Simbang Gabi” and Ryan Cayabyab’s ever-popular “Kumukutikutitap.” The audience joined in the community singing of Vicente D. Rubi’s “Ang Pasko ay Sumapit,” and Felipe de Leon’s “Payapang Daigdig” and “Pasko Na Naman.”
At the concert's end, the UP Symphony Orchestra obliged the audience’s requests to play additional musical numbers twice to finally close with a jazz-like version of the UP hymn, “UP Naming Mahal.”
“Pasko at Musika ng UP Symphony Orchestra” was co-organized by UP Mindanao and the UP Mindanao Foundation Inc. (UPMFI) to raise funds for its scholarship program. The UPMFI has provided scholarships for UPMin students since its inception in 1995, and it currently has 15 scholars from various places in Mindanao and Palawan.
UPMFI Chairperson Sebastian Angliongto and UP Mindanao Chancellor Lyre Murao presented UP President Danilo Concepcion with an Araceli Dans artwork in gratitude for helping bring the UP Symphony Orchestra to Davao City.
In response, President Concepcion said that the UP Symphony Orchestra was established under his term to continue the service of the former UP Youth Symphony Orchestra.
“Ang musika ang nourishment ng ating kaluluwa. Kaya ang musika dapat ibinabahagi natin sa taumbayan (Music is the nourishment of our soul. That is why music has to be shared with people),” he said.
A member of the audience said, “I enjoyed it far beyond. Way worth it. Sana may succeeding concert pa ang UPSO.”
The major sponsors of the event were Grand Menseng Hotel, Cebu Pacific Air, Showimage Inc., Malagos Garden Resort, MX3 Natural Supplements, Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Chua, the University of Southeastern Philippines, and the UP Office of the President.
The sponsors include BJ Construction & Supply, Alson’s Development and Investment Corp., Top Agro Supply, Mount Rock Powder Corp., Holiday Tours, Ms. Lorna Llamas, Santos Architects and Urban Planning, Davao Doctor’s Hospital, Atty. Marie Dinah Tolentino-Fuentes, Senator Robin Padilla, Dole Philippines, SBF Philippines Drilling Resources Corp., Ricardo Santiago, Sr., Seamen’s Hospital, Allado Construction, Mr. Remus Morandante, Fordtown Auto Supply, Odilon Marlon Gaviola, Royal Breadhaus, Canadian Auto Supply, Inc., Ms. Letty Tai, Atty. Rose Amatong-Buendia, Zarah Fe Salise, Joel Patrick Jimenez, Annil Transportation Service, William Lima, Julie Tiu, Feliciano Inigo, and Hubert Jeng.
Top Photo: The UP Symphony Orchestra led by conductor Professor Josefino Chino Toledo backed by the UP Mindanao Koro Kantahanay
Lower Photo: UP President Danilo Concepcion receives an Araceli Dans print from (left-right) UP Alumni Association Davao (UPAAD) President Bogs Quitain, UP Mindanao Foundation Inc. (UPMFI) Chairperson Sebastian Angliongto, UP Mindanao Chancellor Lyre Anni Murao, UPMFI Pres. Dinah Tolentino-Fuentes, and UPAAD chairperson Nap Concepcion