Filipino all-male choir Aleron returns to Manila after a successful month-long European tour, having performed around Sweden, Germany, Denmark, and Switzerland.
Under the theme of Exploring Identity, the tour’s highlights include emerging victorious at the 2nd Limburg Male Choir Festival in Germany, winning championships in the Men’s Vocal Ensembles and Male Choirs Open categories.
The only non-European choir in the roster of participants, Aleron was also awarded the Special Prize of the Hessian Prime Minister, a distinction given to the group that earns the highest score across the entire competition. Its Ensemble Director, Christopher Arceo, was among the two conductors awarded the Special Choirmaster Prize, along with Matthias Rajczyk from Germany.
The Festival was organized by the Cäcilia Lindenholzhausen, one of the most prominent and leading male choirs in Limburg an der Lahn, known to be the center for male choir singing in Germany.
Following its success in Limburg, Aleron took part in the Svenska kyrkans gosskörsförening’s (Swedish Church’s Boy’s Choir Association) Gosskörsfestival (Boy’s Choir Festival) held in the verdant, lakeside municipality of Rättvik. The annual festival brings together boy’s choirs from all over Sweden, serving as an avenue for choral education and fellowship among its participants in an entirely non-competitive setting.
In celebration of its 25th anniversary this year, the festival featured Aleron Ensemble Director Christopher Arceo as its first non-European guest conductor, working with the combined forces of around 300 male choristers in the performance of choral pieces including Vivaldi’s Gloria, Händel’s Hallelujah Chorus, Åhlén’s Sommarpsalm, Poulenc’s Laudes de Saint-Antoine de Padoue, Tallis’ Hear the voice and prayer, and works by Filipino composers Nilo Alcala (Kaisa-isa Niyan) and Eudenice Palaruan (Nonot Kamo Kanako).
Aleron’s travels saw the group performing in numerous iconic venues such as the Uppsala Cathedral (the largest church in the Nordic region), Linköping Cathedral and Lund Cathedral, where the group provided music for a High Mass in culmination of the Pilgrimsvägen Skåne Blekinge‘s 10th anniversary, a hiking journey for devotees centered on spirituality and God.
Visiting and performing for Filipino communities in Stockholm, Bochum, and Basel also served as an integral part of the group’s journey: singing at the 11th Filipino Marian Pilgrimage at the Zisterzienserkloster in Bochum, Germany on June 8, and performing a concert and Mass at the Clarakirche in Basel, Switzerland on June 14 and 16.
Aleron also had the privilege of meeting with Ambassador Leo Herrera-Lim (Philippine Ambassador to Denmark) and Ambassador Denis Yap Lepatan (Philippine Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein), who invited the choir as a guest of honor at the 121st Independence Day commemoration held at the Philippine Embassy in Berne last June 15. The Embassy presented Aleron in a feature concert at the Yehudi Menuhin Forum on the same day.
Aleron first came into existence in 2006 as the alumni ensemble of the Ateneo de Manila High School Glee Club under the leadership of its current Ensemble Director Christopher Arceo, and continues today composed of male choristers from diverse backgrounds. The group has been a consistent recipient of financial grants by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) in support of its international endeavors.
In continuation of its season theme of IDENTITY, Aleron will be staging a homecoming concert on July 28, 2019.
This story is in partnership with Aleron. For more information, visit the Facebook page.