By Lorena Osorio (Class 2021) and Benjo Kho (Class 2020)
The UP Medicine Choir (UP MedChoir) and the UP MedRhythmics (UP MRX) held their first joint year-end concert in over a decade last May 4, 2018 at the Girl Scouts of the Philippines Auditorium.along Padre Faura St., Manila.
Hosted by Leandro Salazar (Class 2022), the event began with the singing of the National Anthem.
The UP MedChoir, clad in an ensemble of barongs, gowns, and ribbons of purple, black, and white, then assembled for the invocation “Ama Namin” (arr. Calalang).
The program featured four acts, each corresponding to a theme in the life of a medical student.
Act One, Exhibition, began with a spiel from bass singer Vinz Solanoy (Class 2022). He spoke about how the busy lives of medical students can leave us empty or lacking, and that we should take opportunities to step back and cherish memories.
UP Medchoir, led by choirmaster Maryam Amparo “Yam” Remoto (Class 2019), then performed “Ascendit Deus” (arr. Philips); Benggong (arr. Ken Steven), featuring soloists Marie Gillian de Luna (Class 2022) and Geremiah Edison Daniel Llanes (Class 2021); “Abendlied” (Rheinberger); and “Sitivit Anima Mea” (arr. Burchard), featuring soloists Ian Daniel Macinas (Class 2020) and Jireh Christi Maganayes (Class 2019).
UP MedRhythmics, dressed in t-shirts and ripped jeans, then took to the stage for their first performance, dubbed “Emotions”. The sequence was choreographed by Elijah Corpus (Class 2021), Raya Victorino (Class 2019), James de las Alas (Class 2021), and Tristan Bandoma.
The second act, Normality, began with a quip on the typical day of a medical student: ward work, small group discussions, lectures, and coffee. The UP Medchoir performed “Java Jive” (Drake & Oaklane, arr. K. Shaw), showcasing soloists Gabriel Elijah de Guzman (Class 202), Vinz Troy Solanoy, Alec Xavier Bukuhan (Class 2022), James Christian Relampagos (Class 2020), Jan Rehino Yanto (Class 2019), Marie Gillian de Luna, Justine April Jacinto (Class 2020), Liza Marie Laroco (Class 2022), and Dave Benedict Robles (Class 2019). This piece also featured the usual half-circle formation of the choir thrown into animated hand gestures and swaying to the beat.
This was followed by “The OSCE Song”, which was a piece by UPCM Class 2012 that won in the Chorale Competition of the end-of-the-year variety show Tao Rin Pala. Finally, interns Kris Anne Estoesta, Mary Kamylle-Ashley Uy, Pholyn Balahadia, Jennica Marie Gonzales, Ronnell Basa, Kaiser Marr Cruz, and Lorenzo Maria de Guzman flocked to the center of the stage to sing “What Matters Most” (Grusin & Bergmann, arr. Zamora). A slideshow of the singers when they were still active as part of UP Medchoir played in the background.
The act was wrapped up by an electrifying performance of fishnets-and-hoodies-clad UP MRX of their Step UP Manila piece. Choreographed by Alvek Ecaldre (Class 2022) and coached by Ecaldre and Juno Sumatra (Class 2021), this piece also won UP MRX the championship in the first UP Manila inter-college dance competition, held last April 2018.
Act Three, Love, was introduced with a spiel on how, with the hardships and toxicities of medical school, life still throws love our way, and that even medicine has no escape from this truth. UP Medchoir returned to the stage for their renditions of “Katakataka” (arr. Suarez-Laureola); “When I Fall in Love” (Hyman & Young, arr. K. Shaw), featuring soloist Alec Javier Bukuhan; “Now That I Have You” (Belamide, arr. C. Borela), with soloist Camille Joyce Cruzada (Class 2018); “I Will Be Here” (Chapman, arr. C. Borela), featuring soloist Geremiah Edison Daniel Llanes; and “Photograph” (arr. Ian Macinas), with soloist Francis Laudemir Libre (Class 2021).
The UP MRX capped off the act with a dance medley featuring songs from the musical movie “The Greatest Showman”. Choreographed by Bea Perez (Class 2020), Paul Perez (Class 2020), and Patricia Basilio (Class 2020), the sequence featured lights and colors flashing and the dance members breaking into the groove.
Act Four, Unity, showcased the UP Medchoir singing “Your Heart Today” (Francisco, arr. Eleria), with soloist Shanaia Esthelle Joy Daguit (Class 2020) and “As Long as I Have Music” (Besig & Brice, arr. Palaruan).
Choirmaster Yam Remoto thanked families, friends, mentors, and professors for watching the concert. She described the experience as “exhilarating” for everyone, and added that the experience left the performers awed for all the talent and passion both organizations poured into their respective forms of art. She also congratulated UP MRX for their win in the Step UP Manila dance competition and their recently concluded dance show Sayaw Manila. Finally, she thanked the audience once more for their support and hoped it would continue as UP Medchoir once again competes in Bali, Indonesia in July.
The night culminated in a song and dance number “Kapayapaan” (arr. Armand Villanueva). Soloists were Aldwin Matthew Baronda (Class 2022), Hans Joren Bondoc (Class 2022), Miguel Angelo Dimacali (Class 2021), Jireh Christi Maganayes, Eunice de Leon (Class 2021), and Mary Kamylle Ashley Uy. The choreography of Jana Negre (Class 2021), Raya Victorino, Keno Baltazar (Class 2019), and Juno Sumatra had UP MRX doing cartwheels and sweeping motions across the stage, to the beat of bongos by Geremiah Llanes.
“The experience really pushed my limits in terms of balancing my time and effort between attending dance trainings and choir rehearsals, not to mention the things I have to juggle as a medical student,” says Cedrick Adorna (Class 2020), member of both MedChoir and MRX. “It was hard, but equally fulfilling as well. “[I would] probably [do this again in the future],” he adds. “If another collaboration happens between these two wonderful orgs, and if I happen to have the time and capacity, then I’ll gladly do it again.”
“We want to give something to the UPCM community,” says Ian Macinas (Class 2020), President of UP MedChoir. “[We decided to name it] ‘Art of Med’ because it’s a pun on one of our subjects. And we, as a performing arts groupm would like to celebrate the arts despite the hectic schedule of med school because pursuing our passions reminds us of our humanity.”
“In art of medicine class,” he continues, “we study that we are dealing with humans and not just diseases – humans with stories, with emotions, more than their conditions.”
Photos by Isabelle Alberto (Class 2022) and Nick Tan (Class 2020) of The UPCM Collective