Whenever Christmas comes, children singing carols and lively choirs at every dawn masses are common for most Filipinos. But with technology and the current pandemic, many virtual choirs have been formed. Now, you can sing carols wherever you are in the world.
Music is embedded to almost all Filipinos, for this reason that street carollers, traditional choirs and now virtual choirs exist.
"Whenever we sing, we can feel more of the Christmas spirit. We are moved by music. Mas feel na feel ang Christmas spirit", fondly says Charisse Arpafo ng Himig Sandiwa Choir.
- Physical carolling can be difficult at this time of the pandemic.
- Many virtual choirs are formed nowadays with the help of technology.
- When doing carols, actual physical singing in a choir has its own benefits, says Himig Sandiwa Choir and so with virtual choirs, like FilAus Virtual Choir.
You can better feel the Christmas spirit every time you hear Christmas carols.
"During Christmas, music is big in our culture. [With music] I can feel the Christmas spirit when I hear Jose Mari Chan and other Christmas songs," a happy Charisse Arpafo shares.
And unlike in the Philippines, Christmas celebrations in Australia are not as big and fun.
”Christmas feels much felt when the songs are sung. Because it is not really as festive here [in Australia] compared to the Philippines. The only way to experience and feel Christmas is by singing them (carols) or playing Christmas songs," says registered nurse Olivia Villanueva.
Since it’s the Christmas season and in the midst of the pandemic restrictions, IT professional Mae Atendido saw an opportunity to form a virtual choir - the FilAus Virtual Choir.
She narrates, "I took the opportunity because I always dreamt of being a part of a Filipino Choir because I'm missing OPM and even hymns. At the same time, virtual choirs are in trend."
As a gift to their fellow Filipinos this Christmas, the virtual choir group produced their own version of the song 'Pasko na Sinta ko', sung by their 18-member virtual choir.
Traditional choir vs virtual choir
“I just wanted a singing group, not necessarily in the church. Maybe that's a Divine Intervention. We found a group that will fulfill our need to sing, and have that sense of belonging," says Giselle Goloy, one of Himig Sandiwa Chorale’s founding members .
In 2012, the Himig Sandiwa Chorale, formerly known as the Filipino Chaplaincy Chatswood Parish (FCCP) Vocal Ensemble, was formed.
”It's kind of a family, and the vibe of the choir is unique. It's more than just a choir, it's a support network," says Ryan Balboa from the choir in Chatswood, NSW.
”Rehearsing to sing in a virtual choir is easy as well as its production as long as there are enough equipments that you can use.
"An advantage of the virtual choir is you have a piece (notes) to learn and you have a guide,“ points Mark Alarcio, who is both a member of Himig Sandiwa and FilAus Virtual Choir.
"You can rehearse on your own time. In recording, you just have to find the quiet time to record. For the production, you have to have the talent to do video editing and audio engineering to put together the sound," says Brisbane-based Ria Gamboa of FilAus
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