Thursday, November 10, 2011

NAMCYA National Champion: The Samiweng Singers of Ilocos Norte

Ilocos Norte despite its rich heritage is known as a provincial rustic place with slow development in many aspects relatively to other provinces. I am still proud of my homeprovince though which is still my favourite place in the world and one of the reasons other than food for my Ilocano palette is - it is not dearth of talented Ilocanos, who will travel anywhere and spend every penny they have to share their passion in the arts.

One of them is The SAMIWENG SINGERS - a Choral Group founded by Robert Caluya in year 2001. It has been a champion in several choral competitions including the National Level of the prestigious NAMCYA in 2002 (National Music Competition for Young Artists) as a TREBLE-SSAA Choir in the Youth Choir category, besting highschool choirs even from popular schools in Manila.

 Allow me to share this well-written piece by Maestro Robert Caluya - the founder and conductor of this choir, who was once a coach/mentor in my singing in my younger years.

The SAMIWENG SINGERS of Ilocos Norte National High School, Laoag City: A Decade of Choral Adventure

by Robert Caluya

After working with the INNHS Youth Choir as Conductor for seven years in 2000,I thought of starting a new choir called the INNHS Samiweng Singers.  Officially established in 2001. The main reason was, I could not hear a basso profundo and there was a dearth of choral pieces for high school students. So, the first treble choir was born...

I formally started recruiting members of the 1st Batch of the Samiweng Singers in 2001 with a few number of Special Science Class students left who were members of the Youth Choir.  There were about more than 100 students who auditioned mostly students from the Special Program in the Arts (SPA). The first performance was during the 1st Quarterf Recita of l  SPA music students (First week of August). Since then, a strong number of more than 50 students became members on its first year. The choir performed in small, local programs.

I left the country for the US Concert Tour of the Sagibsib Performing Arts Troupe in 2002 (April-July) . I thought then of staying in the US for good- but one night, the Samiweng Singers just pop out into my mind- then everything changed. I came home .

On August 2002, the official number of the Samiweng Singers became 26.Joined the Regional NAMCYA FInals at the Teatro Ilocandia and was awarded First Prize. The NAMCYA Finals was not too far, the choir won 1st Prize in the  NAMCYA FInals at the CCP. The following year, the choir participated in the Samu't -Saring Tinig V- A concert of Best High School Choirs in the Philippines, the NAMCYA National Youth Music Festival at the CCP and the Province of Bulacan, and the fiisrt recording debut in 2003 and released in the Summer of 2004.Also the choir sang in most of the Province and Laoag City affairs. They also sang in the welcoming program of Ms Earth Pageant Candidates.

In 2004, I started mentoring Mr. Sherberk Cabrales, a former student and choir member who became my assistant conductor. In 2005, the choir was handed over to him officially-several odds and issues. Trial periods as they say...

In 2006, I was assigned as Officer in Charge of the MAPEH and SPA Departments and so Mr. Cabrales experimented on both the Youth Choir and the Samiweng Singers.

Several years came after and in March 2011, the Samiweng Singers embarked on its first international choral competition in Hoi An, Quang Nam Viet Nam. It emerged Over-all winner in the Children, Youth and Sacred Choir Categories. Mr. Cabrales and I conducted the same choir in different categories and were Category winners .

Now on its tenth year, The Samiweng Singers will surely continue to sing to the world...

If the LOBOC CHILDREN'S CHOIR became popular due to good marketing skills of their promoters/managers, I think it is about time that the SIMAWENG SINGERS must also be treated of the same level of marketing and support.  More so that we have a new Governor Imee Marcos who is more of an art advocate than any Governor of Ilocos Norte I know.  I only hope she includes you in supporting your endeavors as a chorale group in allocating her budget during her tenure.

It is about time Manong Robert. It is about time ;)
Thank you for sharing this wonderful piece. 

To the SIMAWENG SINGERS - keep on singing! Bravo!
Visit and Like Samiweng's Facebook Page

Here are  video clips of the choir group:
This clip was taken during the Samu't Saring Tinig Concert V at the Cultural Center of the Philippines on February 2003 featuring the best high school choirs in the Philippines.

1. Ilocos Norte National High School Choir  - who sang "O Naraniag a Bulan"
2. De La Salle High School Glee Club (1999 NAMCYA Youth Choir Category Champion)
3. Isabel National High School Youth Choir (2002 NAMCYA Youth Choir CAtegory, 2nd place)
4. St. Scholastica High SChool Glee Club
5. Ramon Magsaysay High School Choir, Cubao
6. Paref Southridge School Male Choir

with guest performance by the Kundirana Singers

INNHS Samiweng Singers' conductor: Mr. Robert Caluya

Naraniag A Bulan: Arranged by Mr. Robert Delgado
(Source: rhearmie )

 The INNHS Samiweng Singers goes pop singing I'M YOURS by JASON MRAZ. I'm yours arranged by Sherberk Cabrales for duet,violin,guitar,beatbox,and chorus.
(Source: winnlavqglenn)

 This time under Maestro Sherberk Cabrales (Source: apiong2007)

No comments: