A Fantastic Evening with Loboc Children’s Choir in Australia and New Zealand
by Manny G. Asuncion
Photos courtesy of: Willie Obien, Patricia Granada and Lutgardo Labad
July 5, 2015
On 27 June 2015, many Filipinos braved the chilly evening winter to watch a much-awaited musical at Deakin Edge, Federation Square located along Swanston Street, Melbourne.
The musical event was the Loboc Children’s Choir Concert Tour of Australia and New Zealand - a part of the funding arm of Loboc Cultural Cooperative which aims to rebuild Bohol after it was devastated by 7.2 magnitude earthquake and Typhoon Haiyan (one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded) on 15 October 2013.
Through dance, drama, songs, and visuals, the concert aptly entiled “Rising Bohol” narrates the shock, confusion, terror and pains that the Boholanos went thru during the calamities, as well as their solidarity, resiliency and tenacity in reconstructing and rebuilding their communities.
All the emotions, from shock to jubilation, were effectively portrayed by songs and choreography performed by the Loboc Children’s Choir under the baton of Mrs Alma Fernando Tandoc and the emotive drama acted by the Dulaang Kasing Sining, directed by Mr Lutgardo Labad, the stage director and overall tour manager.
Towards the end of the concert, the audience was greatly entertained with some songs from Walt Disney’s films Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas and Alladin; Broadway Musical Little OrphanAnnie’s ‘Tomorrow’ and from the popular the Sisters Act ‘s number “I will Follow You”. The heart strings of the audience were moved by the choir’s rendition of “ I’ll Still Call Australia Home “ a very popular Australian song composed by Peter Allen (1944-1992).
The Loboc Children’s Choir was founded in 1981 by a team of teachers from the Loboc Central Elementary school led by its musical Director Mrs Taldo. The choir has brought immense pride and accolades to its country by winning major awards in musical competitions in Europe and China, and has performed in the United States, Singapore, Korea and Vietnam.
The choir is composed of elementary and high school children aged nine to fifteen years old from Loboc Central Elementary School and the nearby schools from Loboc and Loay. Regularly, they rehearse after school and sing for Sunday mass at Loboc Parish Church and does outreach concert in orphanages, hospitals, schools and nearby communities.
Currently, the choir is engaged in assisting to raise funds for the restoration of historical churches, homes and schools of Bohol which were destroyed by devastating cyclones and earthquakes.
The Loboc Children’s Choir Australian Tour was under the auspices of Melbourne Organising Committee (A group that developed from an Australian Bohol Partnership based at RMIT University) chaired by Jose Roberto Guevarra and the Boholano and Friends Australia in Sydney with collaboration of the Philippine Embassy in Canberra and the Philippine consulates in Sydney and Melbourne.
The audience could not get enough of the choir so they requested another song of which the choir complied gracefully. A standing ovation followed showing the audience’s great appreciation for the choir’s inimitable performance.
That evening, the Loboc Children’s Choir of Bohol had surely captured the hearts and souls not only of the Filipinos in Melbourne, but the multicultural audience as well who attended the concert and looking forward to watching our talented singing ambassadors from the Philippines again someday.
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