The Loboc Children's Choir Is One of the World's Best. Here Are 5 Things You Need to Know About Them
The world-famous Loboc Children’s Choir just celebrated its 40th anniversary. Through the years the group has captivated audiences both here and abroad with their pure vocal harmonies. They have won national and international competitions, and have performed before heads of states, royalty and other dignitaries. All of this from a humble group from a small town in the province of Bohol
Here are a few things you need to know about he Loboc Children’s Choir:
1| The group was formed in 1980
Alma Fernando-Taldo has been the conductor and musical director of the choir since it was founded. It was the desire to field an entry during the National Music Competitions for Young Artists (NAMCYA) that led to the formation of the group. The group won first prize in the prestigious competition in 1993, 1995 and 2001, and has since been elevated to the hall of fame.
2| The group has gone on concert tours and also brought home trophies from international competitions
Besides performing in school, town and provincial events, the Loboc Children’s Choir has shared its music in countless festivals and concert halls around the world and has also won numerous competitions. In 1996 the kids went on their first tour across different cities in the US. They performed at the International Children’s Culture and Arts Festival in Tianjin, China; and serenaded Queen Sophia of Spain when she visited Manila in 2003.
In 2003, the group took home the gold medals in both the Youth Category and Grand Prize at the 6th International Folksongs Festival “Europe and its Songs” held in Barcelona, Spain. They also performed in concerts across Europe: in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Germany, and Switzerland.
According on Taldo, the current choir has performed in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, and Shanghai and Beijing in China.
“We were slated to go to Europe last year,” Taldo says. “Pero wala pa muna.”
One of their most memorable performances was when they sang before Pope (now Saint) John Paul II.
3| Choir members are aged 9 to 16 years old
Kids who want to join the Loboc Children’s Choir must, of course, have the blessing of their parents. All are from Loboc town. Children from other towns are welcome to apply, but since rehearsals are usually conducted after school hours, it’s difficult for those who don’t live nearby to join them.
Aspiring members need to audition in front of Taldo. But they need not be amazing vocalists.
“Wala kaming tinatanggihan. Nate-train sila. Hindi naman sila magagaling agad (We don’t reject anybody. They can be trained. Not all of them are amazing when they join),” she says.
4| There used to be more boys in the choir
In the current lineup of around 26 members, only three are boys. According to Taldo, the choir used to be composed of more boys, but it seems girls are easier to work with.
“Mas mahirap sila ma-disiplina (They’re harder to discipline),” she says with a grin.
The choir is also generational as some current members are the children of former members.
5| Former members can continue studying music thanks to a scholarship
After choir members “graduate,” some are sent to college where their tuition is covered by a cooperative set-up by a cooperative composed of former members and supporters of the Loboc Children’s Choir.
“We currently have three graduates,” Taldo says. “One is from UST, major in conducting; one from St Scholastic, major in piano. And our assistant now, from the Asian Institute of Liturgy and Music, major in voice.”
6| Two members have competed on the local edition of The Voice
But Taldo says they are no longer asked to join local competitions. Perhaps it’s because they’re just that good.
The Loboc Children's Choir currently performs during Sunday mass at the Loboc Church in Bohol.