By Hanna Ho (Class 2022) (Correspondent: Carl Roma)
The highly anticipated MedGroove MedRhythmia, an annual interscholastic chorale and dance competition among medical schools across the metro, was held at the Aliw Theater, Cultural Center of the Philippines last 20th of January 2019.
In the midst of their busy academic lives, teams of different medical schools from NCR-SL (South Luzon) have been preparing their pieces and rehearsing their dances for months.
Organized by the APMC Student Network, the event had this year’s theme as Alpas, meaning “breaking free”. MGMR 2019 aimed to raise mental health awareness to help empower people to break the stigma surrounding it.
The program opened with the national anthem performed by the MR Unity Song Performers. Miss Andrea Lou Galecia then gave the opening remarks, warmly welcoming all participants and supporters alike. The judges for the competition were introduced; they were Mr. Emmanuel De Leon Jr., Miss Ma. Lourdes Venida Hermo, Dr. Edgardo L. Manguiat, Mr. Ramon Lijauco Jr., and Miss Maria Theresa Roldan.
The competition proper began with MedRhythmia, the chorale contest. Each choir was tasked with singing a designated contest piece, “The Heart’s Reflection” by Daniel Elder, and a choice piece which they could pick and arrange freely.
First up were the PLM-CM Heralds, who chose Benj Pasek and Justin Paul’s “This Is Me”, a wildly popular tune from the 2017 hit musical The Greatest Showman. They got the crowd going with a wonderful opening number. Next up were the DLSMHSI Saring Himig, who chose an original composition by Dr. Renz Marion Alemania, “Ako’y Ako”. They gave a lovely performance, keeping up with the opening act.
Third in the line up was the UST Medicine Glee Club who prepared a commissioned piece based on Sonnet 116 by Shakespeare, “Let Me Not”. Their choice piece was fast and syncopated, and they wowed the crowd! The UERMMCI-CM Chorvs Medicvs followed them with a very heartfelt performance of the Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly classic “True Colors”.
The SLCCM Chorale kept the momentum going, amping the atmosphere with an original and daring medley of Gloc 9 songs. They gave a fantastic performance, even rapping it out on stage, drawing cheers from the audience mid-performance. Not to be deterred, the AUP Medicine Chorale followed up with their very soulful rendition of the Gospel tune, “Hold On”.
The seventh performer was the OLFU-CM Sanar Con Musica Chorale who gave it their all with a rendition of the recently Academy Award-nominated original song, “Shallow” (written by Lady Gaga, Andrew Wyatt, Anthony Rossomando, and Mark Ronson). Finally, the FEU-NRMF Symphopella had a blast doing an excellent rendition of “This is Gospel” (by Panic! At the Disco; arranged by Darren Vega. This brought the MedRhythmia portion of MGMR 2019 to a close.
After a half hour recess, the host put out another roll call, this time for the dance teams. Each team was to perform a dance centered around a certain stigma they wish to raise awareness for.
The MedGroove segment kicked off with the first performer, the UP MedRhythmics from UPCM with an incredible interpretation of their chosen theme, sexual assault. They had a great impact factor and set the bar high for the rest of their competitors. The St. Luke’s Dance Company followed with a beautiful and emotionally raw performance with their dance theme, stigma on prisoners.
The third team was UERM’s Krewciate Dance Company who were able draw the audience in and make them relate well to their theme of expectations on time. The Ateneo Med Dance Group expertly tackled the expectations and reality of fitting into society, even throwing an iPhone on stage! Their dance was sharp and polished, a testament to months of rehearsals.
The fifth group was the Terpsichorean Circle from UST-FMS who went with social media where you live life through others. They gave a wonderful and lively performance, with facial expressions on-point. De La Salle Medicine Dance Society chose to go with the societal expectations on academics, and their dance interpretation was really quite lovely and filled with so much heart!
Finally, OLFU-CM’s Syncytia Dance Company performed with a theme of general societal expectations. Their dance blended well with their chosen theme, and they gave a great performance to close the MG segment of the competition.
Out of all the amazing performances, some schools stood out. The special awards were as follows:
For the MedRhythmia segment, the UST Medicine Glee Club was awarded Best in Choice Piece while the AUP Medicine Chorale was awarded Best in Interpretation of the Contest Piece. For the MedGroove segment, the UP MedRhythmics was awarded Best in Choreography while UERM’s Krewciate Dance Company took home the prize for Best in Theme Interpretation.
Overall, the competition winners were chosen based on the scores tallied from the judges. For MedRhythmia, the second runner up was SLCCM Chorale, the first runner up was the AUP Medicine Chorale, and bagging first place was the UERMMCI-CM Chorvs Medicvs! For MedGroove, the second runner up was the AMDG, the first runner up was the UP MedRhythmics, and taking home the championship trophy was the Krewciate Dance Company from UERM.
The competition was a success in raising awareness and fostering camaraderie amongst medical students as well!
After the event, protests againsts scores and judges’ decisions were made. Apparently, during the competition, judges opted to follow their choices for the special awards instead of basing it on the scores, as was stipulated in the rules and regulations. The organizers allowed this despite having sent out the established judging and scoring system to the competitors beforehand. The MGMR 2019 team has since released a statement, apologizing for the confusion and awarding UERM “Best in Choice Piece” alongside UST.
Pictures credited to Roie Urgena (UPCM 2023) and Leandro Salazar (UPCM 2022)