Caroling is a Christmas tradition here in the Philippines which consists of groups of people, usually kids, going from house to house singing Christmas carols to spread the holiday spirit.
My childhood memories in the province includes many fun-filled carolling adventures. Sadly, here in the suburbs of Metro Manila, we don’t see and hear much caroling. A few young kids in the village neighborhood don’t even know what caroling is.
Last night, I was reminded of how magnificent the experience of caroling is. I had the pleasure of listening to some excellent caroling from the pride of our hometown – the Iriga City Singing Ambassadors.
Formed by Mayor Madelaine Alfelor among young professionals and city workers, this singing group has brought honor to Iriga. Last December 2012, this group won grand prize at the International Choir Competition held in the City of Hue, Vietnam (http://www.vietmaz.com/2012/12/philippines-wins-grand-prize-at-the-2nd-vietnam-international-choir-competition-hue-2012/#.UqkOSvSSxSM). Their next competition is the World Choir Games to be held in Latvia this July 2014 (http://www.interkultur.com/concorsi-festival/world-choir-games/riga-2014/). They are currently in Metro Manila to do caroling which is their way of raising funds to help pay for their expenses in going to Latvia.
I first heard the Iriga City Singing Ambassadors at the funeral wake of my father last July 2012. They provided soulful music at the eulogy program. This time around this December 2013, I was listening to happy melodious music from them. This group is talented and passionate with its craft. Under the leadership of their musical director, Chris Yu, another local talent, they are able to belt our stirring renditions of old Christmas hymms, interpretative nursery rhymes, contemporary pop, the old pinoy staple “Anak” and the Bicol regional anthem “Sarong Banggi.”
The American Author, Stacy Horn wrote “When you sing, musical vibrations move through you, altering your physical and emotional landscape. Group singing, for those who have done it, is the most exhilarating and transformative of all. It takes something incredibly intimate, a sound that begins inside you, shares it with a roomful of people and it comes back as something even more thrilling: harmony.”
Watching and listening to the performance of the Iriga City Singing Ambassadors, I could feel the pride in their harmony.