by Grey-An Keith P. Pascual
As the Year of the Laity is celebrated, the part of the lay people in building the Church is reaffirmed with the action taken by the 13 choirs, four solo performers, and rondalla group that gathered and shared their gift of music to promote the conservation of the San Sebastian Basilica in a festival of sacred music dubbed as Musica Sacra Festival last May 29-31 at the Basilica Minore de San Sebastian, Manila.
Now on its second year, Musica Sacra Festival took a different light as it was done in a 3-day festival of concerts and talks and choral workshop. Upholding the teachings of the Mother Church, the event aspired to share religious music as a prayer, as an essential aspect in a Christian’s life, and as a way to spread the good news. The more active and passionate involvement of the lay people in this journey is also highlighted in this year’s festival. A growing number of groups and individuals offered their time and talent to make the event possible.
The Festival opened on the 29th of May with a Eucharistic Celebration, followed by a lecture on liturgical and sacred music from Rev. Fr. Manuel Maramba, OSB. The first day ended in a good note with a concert showcasing various choirs and individuals serving in the parish and other guest choirs: San Sebastian Basilica Children’s Ministry Choir, Tipanan Vocal Ensemble, San Sebastian Chamber Singers, San Sebastian Parish Rondalla, Chorus Vocales, and ALab Vocal Ensemble.
The second day of the festival was also commenced by a Eucharistic Celebration. A media exhibit and sharing of the conservation and development of the Basilica was also done by Rev. Fr. Rene Paglinawan, OAR, and Ms. Tina Paterno, Chief Conservator and Executive Director of the San Sebastian Basilica Conservation and Development Foundation, Inc. The talk was followed by performances from visiting choirs and resident solo performers from San Sebastian: Voces Amicorum, Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene Music Ministry Chorale, Vox Amigos, Jay Merwin Madrid, Eden de Chavez, Mafe Tingocia, and Kim Nemenzo.
Moreover, a choral workshop facilitated by Prof. Lester Delgado was conducted on the 31st. Choristers and music enthusiasts around Manila attended the choral clinic to better appreciate the gift of faith, arts and sacred music and to further hone their talent and service. The Eucharistic Celebration was attended by the participants and performers.
The last day, which was also in celebration of the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Elizabeth, was devoted to an assembly of other choirs coming together for a gala concert: PUP COC Ensemble, Shrine of Jesus Children’s Choir, Samahang Banal na Mag-anak Chorale, The Orféon Singers, and the Lighter Side Movement.
The festival which aimed to stage a show that will continue to preserve, protect and promote the wonderful treasure of San Sebastian Basilica through the gift of faith, arts and sacred music, was spearheaded by San Sebastian Basilica Conservation and Development Foundation, Inc. and was supported by San Sebastian College – Recoletos Manila, Linear Graphics, Lytz-Wil Enterprises, Mega Source Scientific Supplies, New A-Plus Personnel Services Corporation, Speedworld Business, Globesco Incorporated, Mcdonald’s Philippines, Sen. Cynthia Villar, Ms. Hayley Ao Tai, Ms. Trina Davies, Ms. Letty Tayao, Bai & Baby Abutin, Ms. Didi Canlas, Ms. Olga Paguia, Mr. Charito Florendo, Timbol Family, and San Sebastian Convent.