Filipino choir on top of the world at Llangollen Eisteddfod
A choir from the Philippines has struck gold at a major international music festival in Wales.
Kammerchor Manila clinched the prestigious Pavarotti Trophy in the Choir of the World competition at Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod.
The winners saw off challenges from the “hugely impressive” runners-up, the Cantilon Chamber Choir from Edmonton in Canada, the Delaware Choral Scholars from the USA and the Le Voci choir from Hereford.
According to the judging panel, which included Robert Guy, the co-founder and conductor of the Wrexham based NEW Sinfonia orchestra which headlined at the eisteddfod earlier in the week, the victorious choir put in a superb performance.
In Robert Guy’s view, the Kammerchor, under the baton of Conductor Anthony Villanueve, were the “stand-out” performers in a tough competition for the global choral crown, named in honour of the legendary tenor Luciano Pavarotti.
Pavarotti, who passed away in 2006, was a member of the Chorus Rossini from Modena in Italy who won the Male Voice Choir competition at Llangollen Eisteddfod in 1955.
Exactly four decades later he returned to Llangollen in 1995 to perform once again on the famous pavilion stage, but this time as an international superstar.
According to Llangollen Eisteddfod’s Executive Producer, Camilla King, Kammerchor, from Quezon City, were worthy winners of the blue riband prize in memory of the great man.
Kammerchor is one of the premier church choirs in the Philippines and was founded in 1992 as a non-profit organisation.
The choir has a track record of success at international choral competitions.
In 2021 they were the Grand Prix winner at the Queen of the Adriatic Sea International Choral Festival in Rimini in Italy where they also won the category for sacred music.
Meanwhile, the International Conductor’s Prize went to Heather Johnson of the Cantilon Chamber Choir from Canada
Serial winners the Loughgiel Folk Dancers from Northern Ireland were pipped to the first prize in the Dance Champions competition by Labschool Kebayoran Senior Highschool from Indonesia.
The Soul Oasis Cultural Ambassadors troupe from Trinidad and Tobago were also highly commended in the dance competition.
All the evening’s competitions took place against a background of thundery rain lashing down on the pavilion’s canvas roof but it was the music and dancing which prevailed
Camilla King said: “The judges declared that it was the most exciting Choir of the World that Llangollen has seen for many years. All competitions were very tightly fought and it was a challenge to choose the eventual winners.
“Overall, we’ve had a brilliant week and it was great to be able to stage the first full length Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod since before the Covid pandemic.
“We introduced a host of entertaining new features on the Maes which proved very popular with the tens of thousands of visitors who came to the festival.
“Among the many highlights was the reading of the famous Dylan Thomas radio broadcast about Llangollen Eisteddfod, which was brilliantly delivered by the acclaimed actor, Celyn Jones, to mark the 70th anniversary of the landmark masterpiece.
“It was also an absolute delight to see the return of the Parade of Nations which saw competitors from 19 nations on five continents around the world transform the streets of Llangollen into a sea of colour and joy.”
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