The Loboc Children's Choir

"The Chocolate Hills are alive...with the sound of music..." Why were we in a hurry after lunch at the Bohol Bee Farm? We were rushing to catch the concert of the world-class Loboc Children's Choir -- at the Loboc Church, of course.

The Loboc Church has been proclaimed as a national historical landmark. It is about 45 minutes from the Bohol Bee Farm. If you are lucky enough to be in Bohol until sometime May this year, the Loboc Children's Choir will have a concert there at 1:30-2:30pm every Sunday. The concert series started in February 2006 and will continue till May. We were lucky to catch it.

The price is P100 per head. At the end of the show, they also sell the choir's CD (...And a Child's Heart Sings) for P350 a piece. We met the Musical Director/Conductor of the Loboc Children's Choir, Ma'am Alma Fernando-Taldo. She was pleasant and accommodating and willingly posed for pictures with us and allowed us to have photos taken with the kids and the teens.

The Loboc Children's Choir actually has two groups: there is the older group which won the grand prize in the International Folksongs Festival in Barcelona, Spain in 2003. The same group has also won several national competitions previously. There is the younger group, composed of kids who are 9-10 years old.

Mr. Gardy Labad started the concert by giving a talk on the musical history of the place which we now know as Loboc. The strong tradition of music started when the Jesuit missionaries arrived in the 16th century (?) -- he said it but now I don't remember exactly whether it was 15th or 16th. The Loboc River then was used as a means of transportation by the missionaries and they would usually hear children, singing by the river, with "voices like angels." They then started to teach the children and the people in Loboc church music and church songs. People in Loboc were musically-inclined that word started to spread about their musical talent. When they would go to another place, they would be asked: "Tiga Loboc ka?" (Are you from Loboc?). If the answer was yes, they would be invited to join the band. According to Mr. Labad, a lot of the people in Loboc were able to study for free because of music. Most of the members of the Loboc Children's Choir would have "ninunos" (ancestors) who were part of a band or were musikeros (musicians).

Auditions to join the choir are held in June and Mr. Labad says that there is usually a long line of applicants. After the concert, I asked one of the kids how often they practice or how long they practice every day. Her answer? "Dalawang oras po." (Two hours.)

How did we find the concert? Very enjoyable. The two groups started with a rendition of our national anthem, the Lupang Hinirang. It starts out in a pretty straightforward manner but somewhere in the middle, the group do their blending and I started to have goosebumps all over. =) Magaling talaga ang Pinoy.

The older choir did some classics/religious songs; songs from the Sound of Music, etc. My favorites though were the medley of Filipino songs (siyempre!) and that "Light of a Million Mornings" song. It was just so beautifully sung. I also enjoyed the fact that they performed some of their songs with choreography and movement.


Loboc Children's Choir: The Light of a Million Mornings

As for the younger group, they sang appropriate, short songs for kids their age. Not like those contests on TV where you have heavily made up kids belting out those adult songs. They performed songs about singing; showing kindness to your neighbor, and there was this song about what to do with a drunken sailor in the morning. =)

It was a good one hour concert. We're glad we went. If you have the chance, please see the Loboc Children's Choir. If you have any doubt about the Pinoy's talent, watch these kids and replace your doubt with pride. =)

» Bohol 2006 Travelogue

[By Angelica Viloria | Thursday, April 13, 2006]


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