THE St. Benedict Children’s Choir (SBCC) from Cebu triumphantly returned yesterday from the 6th World Choir Games in Shiaoxing City, China, bringing home one gold medal and two silver medals.

Formerly known as the Choir Olympics, the world’s biggest choir competition gathered starting last July 15 more than 8,000 contestants from over a thousand amateur choirs from all continents. They vied for honors in 20 different categories from jazz to religious music to spiritual folklore.

SBCC, composed of students from St. Benedict’s Learning Centre in Cebu City, is conducted by Dennis Gregory Sugarol. Dr. Rey Roa is its pianist.

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The Cebu choir won a silver in the champions division of music of the religions category, a gold in the contemporary music category, and a silver in the children’s choir category.

The local choir’s entry and winning a silver in the champions division was a major feat since, as a rule, only choirs with proven ability in concerts and international contests could compete. St. Benedict’s had no competition experience but it got the jurors’ approval to join the circle of eight champions in the music of the religions category.

‘Seamless teamwork’

Aside from Russia (cited for the number of choirs it sent to the Games: 31), SBCC was the only choir mentioned in the China Television Network’s news story on opening day: “A children’s choir from the Philippines convinced spectators as well as the panel of judges with its innocent voice and seamless teamwork. And their splendid costumes decorated with traditional patterns of the Philippine folk culture added a touch of glamour to their performance.”

The World Choir Games, started in Austria in 2000 and held every two years, is billed “as the most dynamic and influential choir event around the world” in which “participation alone is already a major achievement.

St. Benedict Children’s Choir members:

Soprano I: Kimberly Manaloto, Cybil Rose Yba¤ez, Kimberly Kyle T. Vasquez, Nicole Kimberly T. Yu, Reika O. Akamatsu, Sabine Buhain, Vincent Vidal R. Agcaoili, Andrew Gabriel B. Ranola, Natasha Linus S. Mendoza, Bianca Ysabelle S. Sy;

Soprano II: Beatrice Isabelle B. Uy, Angela Marie A. Trifiletti, Gabrielle Aleanna P. Sanchez, Mary Charisse E. Lumenana, Janine Roshelle T. Young, Andrea Yvonne B. Cababahay, Anika Noelle Reyes, Kyle Kenzo T. Vasquez, Mary Bernadette B. Ranola, Ann Patricia B. Ranola;

Alto: Martin Lorenzo S. del Rosario, Kobe Bryan M. Abellanosa, Angel Vianne L. Abellanosa, Alama Louise S. Nuque, Gerald Celine F. Pelicano, Noah del Rosario, Steffi Blanche Y. Bascar.