Road to NAMCYA: Claiming the spot against all odds

By: Zabrina Hong, Regina Guinto
December 20, 2023
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The Letran Singing Ambassadors (LSA) brought national pride to the institution as it claimed third in the prestigious 50th NAMCYA. Photo courtesy of

On one of the biggest stages in the country where music and arts are given a spotlight, Letran Singing Ambassadors (LSA) stood and performed in all excellence as they sang every note with their heartbeat in the National Finals Competition Gintong Pamana (Golden Legacy) in the Senior Choir category of the prestigious National Music Competitions for Young Artists (NAMCYA) last November 24.

They held breath as they performed last out of nine groups. Showing no sign of nervousness on the stage, they conquered the arena with their voice, conveying a story to the audience. As one might expect after watching their performance, the day did not end without them achieving a place in their most anticipated competition.

 

Kung magkakasakit man, babangon at babangon talaga eh…” - Letran Singing Ambassadors

In an interview with The LANCE, LSA members said the most challenging part they had to take note of during the preparation would be the time. They would practice everyday until half past 10 in the evening, the long hours of practice mirrored their commitment to the group, organization, and their dedication to music. 

One of their performance sets was “Aba Po Salve Regina”, also known as “Hail Holy Queen”, composed by Ily Matthew Maniano— an alumna of the famous Philippine Madrigal Singers. A world premiere piece that the LSA worked hard in rehearsing for their repertoire into the NAMCYA Finals. The group made no mistake in performing the half Latin and half Filipino piece. 

It is a Marian song that illuminates the group’s identity as most of the members are Marian devotees, which also holds a dear place to their instructor, Mr. Anthony Go Villanueva. According to a member of the LSA, Nathan Balase, the lyrics of this piece resonate with the group as they pour their hearts into sacrificing a lot for their love of music.

The contest piece of the LSA was from a chapter in the Bible - Psalm 1:15, which sends a message about praising and worshiping God. Their set ended with the song, “Qué Rico el Mambo”, a Spanish song that contrasted the first piece. It is a piece that’s so lively that the group sways with the rhythm, almost as if they are dancing. According to the LSA President Pauline Lalog, they have chosen the piece as it reflects what one can find in the community of Letran - lively, fun, and full of colors. Not to mention how ideal the timing was to end their performance with this piece given that they performed last in the Senior Choir category.

They further shared that their participation was nerve-wracking to say the least, especially considering that NAMCYA has contestants from all over the country. They also said they were excited to share their talents and were honored to represent Letran.

It is worth noting that there were also Letranites in the crowd along with Inst. Emil Carreon (CPAG Coordinator) and Asst. Prof. Catherine Sanchez (DSA Directress), which gave the LSA strength throughout the competition. Through the year-long preparation, the LSA members were determined to enjoy the experience and do their best. In those 10 minutes, they wanted it to be worth the hardships they went through.

They added that when they arrived at the venue, they were a bit intimidated by the opponents, largely because of the way the other groups were practicing and harmonizing. As the hours went by of hair and make-up, the LSA members felt even more nervous yet when they went on stage, they said that due to their choirmaster’s support and guidance, they felt as if they were merely just practicing in their costumes.

The LSA said they were satisfied with their rank, seeing as it was against the whole Philippines. However, they wanted to strive for more opportunities, and hopefully— awards. They had stated showcasing their discipline and commitment to their organization and their craft, yet they feel as though there is a distinct lack of appreciation for cultural organizations in the institution.

They further explained that they were only needed during church services, and that students were also surprised to even hear there was a choir group in Letran. The organization’s ultimate goal is to be recognized for the glory and praise they can bring to the Colegio through hard work and commitment, and that in some near future, the halls would be full of Letranites giving their warm support for the Letran Singing Ambassadors.

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