Bearing the Ilocano word for ‘illustrious’ and ‘renowned’, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts’ (NCCA) SUDI Awards honors only the best of Filipino musical works, creators and institutions.
Proudly standing among the twenty most outstanding musical achievers selected by an esteemed cast of jurors- chaired by National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab- was none other than Jesuit Music Ministry (JMM) chorale group, the Ateneo Chamber Singers (ACS).
For the choir’s manager Aleli Salazar, having ACS mentioned alongside national treasures such as the Philippine Madrigal Singers and UP Singing Ambassadors, was an overwhelmingly joyful moment.
“I can’t speak for everyone, but I had goosebumps when I was reading the congratulatory letter from NCCA. Then, I got teary eyed when I realized the enormity of the award. And it’s all the sweeter because it was, a gift- totally unexpected.”
Indeed, the welcome surprise of a prestigious National Music award was a fitting testament to ACS’ remarkable decade of artistic excellence- a feat deeply treasured by Salazar and the choir.
“Receiving the SUDI is a very big deal for us, because it’s not just recognition of our work in a year, as most awards do, but it’s for 10 years. It was a huge validation of our integrity as a choir.
“It spoke of consistency, that we were not just a flash in the pan – great one year but dull the next. It was also validation that our compass is correct; in the projects we decided to pursue and the choices that we made,” she continued.
While recent success has put ACS in the limelight, Salazar credits the choir’s unwavering faith and pursuit of Magis in all things, for keeping them grounded, and true to their Ignatian identity.
“The most important factor to ACS’s success is staying committed to the mission and vision of the group that was set when we first started. That meant being ‘a world class choir in dynamic pursuit of holistic experience for its members and its audience, constantly guided by the Ignatian ideals of service and excellence’.”
Moreover, ACS’ strong connection to the Ateneo and Jesuit community, also proved key in many of the group’s endeavors.
“The support that we have received from JesCom and the Ateneo de Manila University, allowed us to dream big and take on ambitious projects. Our connection with JesCom and Ateneo gave us legitimacy and greatly facilitated our fundraising and grant proposals. Cliché as it may sound, JesCom and Ateneo are the wind beneath our wings,” commended Salazar.
Grateful and inspired, Salazar then offered her heartfelt thanksgiving and hopeful promise to all those who helped ACS sing their song of success.
“We share this award with everyone who supported ACS through the years – our listeners, those who attended our concerts, bought our CDs and financed our endeavors. Most especially, we give thanks to our families who have been very supportive and understanding of our commitment to ACS all these years. Maraming maraming salamat po,” she expressed.
“These are very challenging times, but we hope to continue to touch people’s hearts with our music for many more years to come. We will continue to lift up our music to the One who inspires and moves us in everything we do.”