Paref Southcrest Girls Choir wins big in Bangkok competition

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The Paref Southcrest Girls Choir, made up of 30 students, bagged 2 golds and was awarded Best in Scenic Folklore at the Grand Prix of A Voyage of Song Choir Competition held recently in Bangkok, Thailand. The group sang 8 songs in 3 different categories. 

PSGC started in September 2018 as a club in the school under Maestro Dennis Sugarol to provide further music training to girls from Grade 2 to high school. The choir has had two major performances so far–at last year’s “Miracles of Christmas ” school production and in its debut concert “ A Gift of Beauty“ in March.

But when the Bangkok competition was announced, we decided to join without hesitation. As a newbie, aware that we were up against 21 choirs from 8 countries, we didn’t really expect to win. Initially, our intention was just to expose the girls in the international arena. And yet our school director Miss Emylou Visaya, along with the management team, was quick to give us full support in our endeavor. We had to audition new members in April since some students have already made plans for summer. For its part, the parent core committee headed by my husband Gabs Garcia immediately went to work. First on the list was finding the right costume, and after 5 revisions, we achieved the look we wanted to project. Gabs worked with Maria Lourdes Rona for the Ethnic Costume and Tet Ko for the Formal Attire. Then again we had more things to tick off–airline tickets, hotel bookings and other logistics, photoshoot, branding, document requirements, etc. And to think we had less than 90 days before the competition. Special thanks to our choir coordinators Miss Marianne Lopez and Miss Maria Teresa Revilles for the help.

The kids rehearsed every day from May 20 to July 14, from half-day sessions and eventually whole days. It was quite surprising to me to see them still so energetic at the end of day. As a parent, it is such a joy to witness young people pursuing their passion and wonderful transformation. Core values being developed and practiced. Discipline and courage demonstrated. When a child who loves chocolates and ice cream is refusing to indulge–that’s self discipline. I watched the girls strive for excellence, making sure they hit every note perfectly. Grit. Hard Work. Commitment. These are important values to live by. What touched me the most was the friendship that has been formed. The members supported each other, prayed for each other, and worked together as a team to achieve their goal. 

Knowing that our girls have never performed in public, never experienced a “real” audience, we thought of mounting a “send-off” concert at the Marcelo Fernan Cebu Press Center a week before the event. It was an amazing show. Family and friends who came to watch were pleased and proud of the the girls. That moment, I knew we’d achieve a Gold in Bangkok. Seems like a David versus Goliath match, but deep in my heart I believed that we had a fighting chance against the more experienced choirs. I had faith that God will be with us and will grant our most fervent prayer. The emotions we felt in Bangkok were of highs and lows, of excitement and anxiousness, but through it all, we emerged victorious. Truly, nothing is impossible if we do something for the glory of God. (Contributed by Cecille Joy Y. Garcia)

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