The turning point came in the year 1965, when Fr. Eduardo P. Hontiveros, SJ (lovingly called Fr. Honti) composed a Filipino Mass while serving Rector of San Jose Seminary. Answering the call for inculturation, Fr. Honti began composing songs in the Filipino idiom. A torrent of compositions would follow throughout the 70’s, resulting in what could arguably be called “classics” of Filipino Liturgical Music: “Ama Namin (Our Father)”, “Ang Puso Ko’y Nagpupuri (Magnificat)” and “Pananagutan”. Fr. Honti’s example would animate and inspire local composers and music ministries, and of course, his fellow Jesuits. 1981 saw the release of Himig Heswita, an album celebrating 400 years since the arrival of the Jesuits in the Philippines. Working with Fr. Honti on this album were “second-generation” Jesuit composers such as Frs. Nemy Que, Fruto Ramirez, and Danny Isidro.
In 1994 these younger Jesuit composers came together to produce Himig Heswita 2. This album was not really a sequel to the first Himig Heswita , but a development, a new stage of growth. Himig Heswita 2 featured Fr. Arnel, Manoling, Nemy, and brought together the choir that would include such voices as Frs. Jun Jun Borres, Chris Dumadag, RB Hizon and Peter Pojol. With Himig Heswita 2, the core group of Himig Heswita was formed.
The Catholic renewal that spread over the country with World Youth Day in 1995 led to two important developments: first, the consolidation of Himig Heswita as a stable singing group; and second the collaboration with instrumentalists. These concert musicians would bring a different flavor to Himig Heswita, making liturgies and performances even more meaningful. Himig Heswita has produced numerous albums and participated in a number of recordings for the Jesuit Music Ministry.
Since Himig Heswita 2 there have been five full albums: Best of Himig Heswita, Purihit’t Pasalamatan, Your Dwelling Place, Krus at Muling Pagkabuhay, and Stand By Me Still. Himig Heswita and their friends has also been part of many anthologies, such as Alay Kapwa, Far Greater Love, Something More and Believe. Himig Heswita has participated in the ministry of healing. Smaller more intimate concerts have been held for the benefit of those suffering from acute ailments. The albums Your Dwelling Place and Stand By Me Still are, in fact, recordings of these concerts. Himig Heswita has also done its part in developing local music ministries, through the many workshops on liturgical music given by Fr. Manoling Francisco SJ, Arnel Aquino SJ and JBoy Gonzales SJ.
Bukas Palad grew from ten years of friendship. Norman Agatep, Jandi Arboleda and Manoling Francisco met and became good friends in their fifth grade at Ateneo de Manila Grade School. Singing and playing music together had been integral to their friendship, and their personal encounters with the Lord bore fruit in talent, in vision, and in community that is BukasPalad . The talent lay in the field of music. The vision sprang from their belief that music can inspire and sustain faith. The community consists of friendships whose common cause of seeking the Lord and serving our people finds union in prayer and song.
In 1986, the still nameless group began its mission at a wedding. Soon after, they recorded and released albums of their original songs. In 1988, the group formally expressed through a statement that the mission of the group is to spread and enrich the faith through music, fully aware of how inspired faith can enrich people’s lives. From the group emerged composers, arrangers, performers and choreographers. Each year, BukasPalad appeared in different venues: auditoriums, parishes, schools, plazas, and even once in a cockpit.
Bukas Palad would sing old and new liturgical songs, and once in a while, pop numbers would spice up the repertoire. A healthy dose of humor helped to keep the members (in) sane enough to continue singing each year. Friendships that have been formed between old and new members helped sustain the energy and commitment of the community. And yet, what continued to be the well-spring of all these was a commitment to bring people closer to the heart and will of God.
After 20 years, seven compact discs and countless singing engagements, BukasPalad continues to be a group of friends who simply wish to share their music to reveal the joyful grandeur, the simplicity and serene reality of God’s presence in the world. BukasPalad popularized the songs “I Will Sing Forever”, “Humayo’t Ihayag”, “Tanging Yaman”, “Sa ‘Yo Lamang” and “Mariang Ina Ko”.
Hangad traces its beginnings to the Ateneo High School , to a group of students who came together to sing for masses and retreats. But it was in Ateneo de Manila University (college) that Hangad flourished, drawn together by friendship and common desire to share His friendship with others.In 1995, Hangad was given the opportunity to realize this dream through Hangad – their first album under the Jesuit Music Ministry. Through years of friendship, they have kept alive the desire to share their music with others. It has been a constant surprise that they have never run out of songs to sing. In fact, the more they grow together the more they see reasons to celebrate. Hangad is now 15 years.Hangad has five albums to date. It is our hope that as we grow and deepen in our ministry, our listeners will grow with us too, and that together we will give praise to God, who is our greatest desire.
Canto Cinco (C5) was formed from different members of choirs from the Jesuits’ apostolate areas in October 2005. Since most of their members are choir leaders, trainers, and teachers, C5 was formed to assist in Liturgical Music Seminars, give vocal training to parish choirs, and train choir leaders in organizing their own parish groups. Their name suggests this area of service: canto means song , but it also tells where they want to serve: kanto is Filipino for corner (where simple people congregate). Second, cinco is for its 5 C’s: Christ-centered, creative, competent, community and commitment. Thus, their desire is to assist poor parish choirs in their ministry.
Musica Chiesa, from the Italian words “musica” (for music) and “chiesa” (for church) is another auxiliary group formed to assist the Jesuit Music Ministry Office in its programs for trainings and seminars for local parish choirs and musicians. It is composed of instrumentalists (strings, percussion, keyboards) also coming from the Jesuits’ apostolate areas. Musica Chiesa is becoming well known for its own instrumental arrangements of popular liturgical music.
Ateneo Chamber Singers
The Ateneo Chamber Singers was formed in 2001 by graduating members of the Ateneo College Glee Club who had then just completed a very successful tour of Europe, bagging top prizes in Italy, Ireland, Slovenia, France, Germany & Hungary. Since then, the ACS has established itself as a formidable presence in the Philippine musical landscape. Their unique specialization in sacred choral music has opened a richly eclectic mix of European, American and Asian choral literature that spans medieval to post-modern periods, traditional to contemporary styles, complex art music to highly-textured indigenous music, and moving spirituals to psalmody hewn of traditional Asian musics.
In 2006, the ACS made their mark in Europe with Awit: The First ACS European Tour, representing the Philippines in two important choral events: the Polyfollia in France, a biennial international choral festival in Saint-Lo in La Manche, and the 38th Tolosa Choral Contest in Spain where they emerged as First Prize winners in the polyphony category, besting counterparts from Europe & the USA.
They have completed two North American concert tours, visiting numerous cities and performing at Berklee College of Music and at the music schools of Boston University, Harvard University, Calvin College, Indiana University and University of California-Berkley.
They have also participated in Three: A Biennial Choir Festival featuring Singapore’s Jennifer Tham & the SYC Choral Ensemble and Japan’s Ko Matsushita & the Gaia Philharmonic Choir. To end the first cycle of these concerts, the ACS had the honor of hosting these choirs during Tatlo: A Choral Celebration, a grand concert at the Cultural Center of the Philippines last January 2011.
The ACS has also released two critically acclaimed album: Awit sa Panginoon and Umawit sa Kagalakan. In 2010, it released its first Christmas album Ang Ating Pasko, a collaboration with the Jesuit Communications Foundation, Inc. (JesCom).
The album features songs by Ryan Cayabyab, Fr. Manoling Francico SJ, Moy Ortiz, Jose Mari Chan, Fr. Arnel Aquino SJ and ACS members Trina Belamide, Arnel De Pano and Dada De Pano-Supnet. It also features orchestration by multi-awarded movie scorer and ACS member Von de Guzman. One of the most popular tracks in the album, Ilang Tulog Pa Ba?, won Best Christmas Recording at the 24th Awit Awards.
The ACS recently ventured into a new genre, launching its second album with JesCom. Love I’ve Found In You, a compilation of love songs composed by ACS members Trina Belamide and Arnel De Pano was released at a sold-out concert entitle Where There Is Love last September 2011. Matibay, a song composed by member Von de Guzman, was chosen as one of the finalists for Best Inspirational Song at the recently concluded 34th Catholic Mass Media Awards.
2012 marks the 10th year since ACS’ launching in 2002. To kick-off the anniversary celebrations, the ACS held a joint concert with the Capella Choir of Calvin College of Michigan under Dr. Joel Navarro last January. The ACS continued their anniversary year with a concert entitled DEKADA last August at the Church of the Gesu and a performance at Beyond Notes Choral Festival in Laguna, a concert at the Abelardo Hall at the University of the Philippines College of Music and a joint concert with the Ateneo College Glee Club in September, a performance with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra and an annual Christmas concert & Simbanggabi at the Church of the Gesu in December.
The ACS also begins the Three Choir Festival’s second cycle in Hokkaido, Japan in early January. Plans for a European tour are also underway for May 2013.
Koro ILustrado is an all-male choir which commits to the development of our country’s choral tradition. Its vision is to become the country’s premiere all-male chorale, exemplifying the best of the Filipino Performing Artist: Excellence, Discipline and a Flair for entertainment.
Formed in October 2007, the choir’s repertoire includes the best of local & global all-male choral music, both Classical & Pop. Koro ILustrado participated in the MBC National Choral Competition of 2009, 2010 and 2011, always garnering a place in the top 4 winners’ circle and being the only all-male choir to do so in all 3 years, besting about 50 other choirs nationwide. In December 2012, the choir bagged the Grand Prize of the Araneta Center Holiday Hymns Christmas Choral Competition. Koro ILustrado is ably conducted by Mr. & Mrs. Jong & Anna Piquero, both alumni of the Philippine Madrigal Singers.
Today, the group regularly performs at the Santuario de San Antonio Parish in Forbes Park Makati City. They continue to embark on projects that will bring their music to even more people, here and abroad. These projects include Album recording, Concerts and International Music Competitions. To know more about the group and its activities, simply ‘Like’ their Facebook Page, Koro ILustrado.
Where’s The Sheep? is a contemporary Catholic praise band, aspire to proclaim the word of God through music, songwriting, and sharing of faith, in order to inspire individuals, especially the youth, towards a deeper sense of Hope, a Faith truly alive, and a relationship with Christ built in His unending Love.
Hero Mauricio is the band’s lead guitarist and back-up vocalist. He is also the band’s lead arranger and co-composer. He is an active member of the Our Lady of Beautiful Love Parish (OLBL) in Merville, Paranaque, and he is also part of the Youth Life in the Spirit Music Ministry (YLSS Praise Ministry) and the Merville Worship Team.
Mike Shimamoto is the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist of the band. He arranges the music, together with Hero, and leads in the composition of the team’s original songs. He is also active in his parish, OLBL in Merville, Paranaque, and is a member of the YLSS Praise Ministry. He is also one of the musical directors of the Merville Worship Team and the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Music Ministry (NCAF).