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Baao-based choir shines at Spain competition anew

By Troy Omar Bisenio

TWELVE years after their 2012 win, the Baao Children-Youth Choir (BCYC), a choral group based in Camarines Sur, secured the gold prize in their return at the 29th Certamen Internacional Juvenil de Habaneras in Torrevieja, Spain last April 20, 2024.

The group of young singers, led by their 20-year-old musical director Emmanuel Ramos II, bested four European choirs, namely: Coro Juvenil del Conservatorio Hermanos Berzosa, Coro Las Veredas, Coro del Colegio Entreolivos, and Cantoria Solfa, to secure the top prize.

With four songs to execute in the competition, Ramos mentioned that every member had to balance academics and rehearsals during the preparation months before the contest.

“Most of the members are new so I have to start from zero so everyone is on the same level [...] We rehearsed after school. We really sacrificed a lot for this,” Ramos stated in an interview.

“I am very grateful to our managers and core team for taking a leap of faith with me. I have no experience [as a conductor] yet they trusted me and took the risk. I'm grateful,” he detailed his sentiment upon joining the competition with limited experience in his pocket.

The 27-member group, despite being the lone non-European choir in the event, was well-applauded performing the following songs:

• Habanera de Sal - Belen Puente | Antoni Mas

• A Tu Lado - Javier Busto

• Verde Mar - Meira Delmar | Bernadette Kühne

• Regina Coeli - Budi Susanto Yohanes

As of writing, the BCYC is embarking on its 8th international tour representing in Torrevieja and Valencia, Spain under Ramos' conductorship.

Moving forward, Ramos hopes for more opportunities to teach music. "I want to teach music to children," he ended.

The group first won the said competition in 2012 under the former director, Mr. Virgilio Briones.

BCYC, as announced on its Facebook page, will represent the Philippines in the 1st International Children and Youth Choir Festival Hannover on May 8-13, 2024.

CORE OF CHORUS The Baao Children-Youth Choir with some of the core team members during the announcement of winners at the 29th Certamen Internacional Juvenil de Habaneras in Torrevieja, Spain.


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