Published: 18 July 2015
In an unprecedented turn of events, the Palawan State University singers have brought pride and recognition, not only to the PSU and to the province of Palawan, but to the Philippines as a whole, as they have topped the Festival Internacional de Musica de Cantonigros held in Spain.
It was no easy feat for the PSU Singers, as they had to face the toughest of competitors from the world, including another Filipino choir in the person of the UP Manila Chorale, who then placed 3rd overall in the competition. In a text correspondence, Mr. Demy Dizon, the proud coach of the PSU Singers was able to relay his thoughts on the group’s victory.
“There were mixed feelings (when we found out that we won the competition). First, there was a feeling of disbelief because the other choirs were really good. And as Filipinos, standing alongside the UP Manila Chorale was intimidating,” said the leader of the PSU Singers.
In the 33 year history of the Festival International de Musica de Cantonigros, there have only been 4 Filipino choirs who have won in the main category of this competition. They are the following: UP Madrigal Singers (1989), Himig Singers from Davao (1997), UST Singers (2010) and finally, the Palawan State University Singers as the Grand Winner of the 33rd installment of the highly anticipated showdown of choirs in this musical festival.
The success that this young singing group has achieved did not come without hitches. In fact they had even encountered several roadblocks that could have prevented them from participating in the competition.
Asked how they were able to do it against the odds, Mr. Dizon said, “I have always believed that success comes when preparation meets opportunity. And this time, that was proven again. Even if the opportunity comes, but you are not prepared for it, you will not be able to grab it. The PSU Singers prepared for it. We just did our best and left everything to the will of God.”
With this development, the PSU Singers are riding on the momentum of their victory, as they have created opportunities for themselves to be known and revered like never before. There is in fact a clamor for their presence in a number of engagements in Europe.
“We were swept with congratulatory invitations and opportunities for linkages, not just from the organizers of the Festival but also the music directors of the other choirs (who competed against us). The Philippine Embassy sent their greetings as well,” Mr. Dizon said. “Right now, the PSU Singers are having concerts all across Europe, responding to invitations coming from the groups who hosted us here. They were people who invited us even before we won.“
He added further that the PSU Singers are now having a rare experience of being immersed in different cultures and they are also able to foster Filipino culture through the performances of our cultural repertoire.
“They are learning so much more about life and what they are doing now is something that most of us wanted when we were their age. Of course, the Singers would still strive to better themselves through the exploration of vast chorale works. What's next, God will tell,” said Mr. Dizon.
Many personalities within the PSU community have stood by this fated group, throughout the twists and turns along the way to their fairytale finish, those who laughed with them in their moments of joy and ached alike in their pain. With this, Mr. Demy Dizon, the youthful mentor of now the hottest choral group in recent Philippine history took the chance to honor them all.
“Thank you for the support. Your prayers worked. The PSU Singers' success is not just our own but the University's and all the people who made it possible. We want to extend our many thanks to Dr. Jeter Sespene for allowing us this opportunity. Our special thanks to Mr. Bimbo Fernandez who tirelessly gave us all kinds of support. His help has been a source of inspiration and strength for the PSU Singers. Also we thank our adviser, Dr. Daisy Grace Antonio who never ceased to believe in us and prayed for us. To the SCAO Director, Atty. Alisuag, to Vice President Marilyn Pablico, Mr. Domingo Palatino, Dr. Nelly Mendoza, Dr. Eva Jimenez, Dr. Gelito, and the Student Supreme Council.”