Takarazuka, Japan – July 27, 2015 – ALERON, an all-male Filipino choral ensemble, was recently proclaimed as overall First Place winner of the 31st Takarazuka International Chamber Chorus Contest held on the 25th of July 2015. This marks the first time a Filipino ensemble earned the honor in the history of the competition. In addition, the group garnered Gold Prizes, the highest possible award, in the Folklore and Contemporary categories.
ALERON bested 22 other choirs, with the majority hailing from within Japan. According to the judges, the classy choice of repertoire and the unique and expressive appeal of mixed voices were key in clinching victory for the all-male ensemble. The judges also noticed the excellent phrasing of French in the performance of Darius Milhaud’s “Psaume 121,” and Filipino composer Robin Estrada’s “Psalmi 137,” truly highlighted the group’s high level of ensembleship.
The Takarazuka International Chamber Chorus Contest (TICC), as an artistic festival organized and produced by Japan’s “city of music,” aims to pursue the essence of choral singing by encouraging performances by small groups in the specially designed Vega Hall. After the tragedy of World War II, the hall and TICC was established in the belief that music and artistic pursuits could serve as beacons of peace transcending national borders.
ALERON is led by Christopher Amado Ong Arceo as ensemble director, and is a Philippine-based all-male choir geared towards exploring and broadening the male soundscape. It first came into existence in 2006 as the alumni ensemble of the Ateneo de Manila High School Glee Club, and continues today composed of male choristers from diverse backgrounds. The group was given a financial grant by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) in support of this endeavor.
ALERON’s other accomplishments include a Grand Prize distinction in the 10th Busan Choral Festival and Competition held in Busan, South Korea in October 2014, and a First Prize distinction in the Vocal Ensemble category of the 1st Andrea O. Veneracion International Choral Festival held in Manila in August 2013.
The group will be representing the Philippines as guest choir in the 1st International Federation for Choral Music World Choral EXPO to be held from 12-16 November 2015, in Macau, China.