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Sacred, soulful, spiritual and inspirational songs in concert

by Ronald Mervin Sison

Musical Director Julian Vanderput leads the ReSound! Choir which has specialized in performing classical choral pieces by composers like Bach and Vivaldi; as well as their own original pieces and pop song arrangements for the past 20 years. Photo by Nonie Manalili

This Easter season, on April 13, the West End’s First Lutheran Church was the venue for our intimate concert recital in collaboration with master musician and ReSound! choir artistic director, Julian Vanderput.

Bis Orat Qui Bene Cantat – He Who Sings Well Prays Twice – featured seven soloists of different backgrounds: ReSound! soloist Yanna Courtney, classical soprano Hannah Orr, mezzo soprano Julie Maniate; and Filipinos – musical theatre performer Tricia Magsino Barnabe, church soloist CJ Rona, Summer Santos in her debut performance with mom Vivan Armstrong Santos; and classical tenor Ronald Mervin Sison. ReSound! were also the featured guest performers.

The audience was treated to a wide repertoire that reflected the depth and talent of the performers, which included church hymns, popular standards, classical pop, original choral arrangements, sacred songs, and opera. The church echoed with songs like Amazing Grace, Hallelujah, Bridge Over Troubled Water; classical pop like Nella Fantasia, You Raise Me up, and The Prayer; sacred music like Panis Angelicus, The Lord’s Prayer, and three different Ave Marias (Caccini, Mascagni, Schubert) sung in succession; opera arias like The Flower Duet from Lakme and the tenor aria Ingemisco from Verd’s Requiem; all heightened by ReSound!’s masterful five-piece choral performance, which included works by Vivaldi, Scarlatti and Pergolesi before intermission.

The audience was inspired and teary eyed through the afternoon, each one touched differently by this song and by that performer; and post-show comments ranged from “… intimate and stupendous performance…” to “… moving.” to “… grabe, iba talaga.”

Audience member and Filipino physician, Dr. Denise Kho, a proponent of the healing power of music, crystalized it all perfectly, “I did not know that this was what my soul needed today. I do not usually think of religious nor opera music as my first go to for mood music, so it took me-off guard when I could feel each song connecting me to something bigger; I could feel these powerful notes resonating in my chest.”

We sing because we love to, we sing the notes and melodies, we raise our voices to the heavens from the depths of our souls to touch, to connect, to inspire, to heal… and even if we only had one person in the audience, if we could inspire and touch that one person, it would be all worth it.

Bis orat qui bene cantat – he who sings well prays twice.