SIX choral groups — one from the Philippines and five from Indonesia — will compete at the first Asia Choral Grand Prix hosted by the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) on July 21.

Patterned after the European Choral Grand Prix, the Asia Choral Grand Prix is a competition among winners.

The competing choirs were previous champions of the Andrea O. Veneracion International Choral Festival (AOVICF) in the Philippines — the choral competition named after the Madrigal Singers’ founder which is held every two years — the Bali International Choir Festival (BICF) in Indonesia, and the Singapore International Choral Festival (SICF).

Within the duration of the 2017 AOVICF, the CCP hosted meetings with representatives from BICF and SICF. “We started brainstorming and we all agreed that we will have an Asia Choral Grand Prix,” Melissa Corazon Mantaring, the CCP’s Music Programming and Artist Training Division Head, told BusinessWorld in an interview on July 2 at the CCP.

A memorandum of understanding was signed in the same year.

The competition was established to “raise the standards of choral music in our country and establish our leadership in the field of choral music,” Ms. Mantaring said.

“We also want to establish camaraderie among choral singers. We also [want to] promote Filipino choral music,” she added.

The competing choirs are: the Brawijaya University Student Choir, Deum Voice, the Paduan Suara Mahasiswa Universitas Padjadjaran, the Vocalista Harmonic Choir ISI from Yogyakarta, and the St. Louis High School Choir, all from Indonesia; and the University of the Philippines Los Baños Choral Ensemble from the Philippines.

“We want to get more of the choral community to come. It’s an opportunity for them to watch the competition in the Philippines rather than abroad. And it will also help them to see the level of choral singing in other parts of the world and in the Philippines,” Ms. Mantaring said.

The winner will receive $6,000 and the Kilapsaw trophy designed by multi-media artist Toym Imao.

There will be a jury representing five continents: Werner Pfaff (Germany), Jason Max Ferdinand (US), Digna Guerra (Cuba), David Squire (New Zealand), and Mark Anthony Carpio (Philippines).

The next Asia Choral Grand Prix will be held in Bali in 2021, and in Singapore in 2023.

For tickets — which cost P500 (Orchestra) and P300 (Balcony 1 and 2) with 50% discount for students and 20% discount for Senior Citizens — contact the CCP Box Office at 832-3704, or TicketWorld (891-9999, — Michelle Anne P. Soliman