Samiweng Goes Global

After winning its first international choir tournament in Vietnam, the 29-member Samiweng choral group is now eyeing the 2012 World Choir Games in Cincinnati, Ohio in July next year.

The world-class choral from the Ilocos Norte National High School (INNHS) was given a certificate of qualification to advance automatically in the championship round of the 7th World Choir Games in Ohio on July 4 to 12 next year.

Robert Caluya, conductor emeritus of INNHS, assured the certification issued meant that the group is no longer required to audition for the world competition.

The two awards that the Samiweng took home during the 1st Vietnam International Choir Festival and Competition in Hoi An recently was an affirmation of the group’s world-class talent.

“We have been waiting for this moment. We first applied for an international competition since a decade ago. But God had another plans. This is His plan (referring to the Vietnam victory),” he said.

Caluya and his co-conductor Sherberk Cabrales stirred the Samiweng to earn the Gold Diploma (Level III) in the children’s choir category and another Gold Diploma (Level IV) in the Sacred Choir Music Category.

The group was also declared as the overall winner in the Children’s Choir, Sacred Choir Music, Youth Choir of Mixed Voices and Youth Choir of Equal Voices.

The competing countries went under scrutiny by members of the international jury that included Dang Chau Anh from riVietnam, Soundarie David from Sri Lanka, Raymund Fu from Hongkong, John August Pamintuan from Philippines, Susanna Saw from Malaysia, and Aida Swenson from Indonesia.

The other choral groups came from Estonia, Singapore, China, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Vietnam.

The Ilocos contingent was accompanied by school executives led by INNHS principal Isabel Sison-Sandi.

The Samiweng’s trip to Vietnam was made possible through donations and cash assistance from the Laoag City government headed by City Mayor Michael Fariñas, the provincial government of Ilocos Norte with the leadership of Governor Imee R. Marcos; DepEd Laoag led by the City Schools Division Superintendent Araceli C. Pastor; INNHS Integrated General Parents Teachers Association through its President Noralyn Espejo; INNHS Class Alumni Associations and other private individuals. (Cristina Arzadon)