Pinoy Christmas in Norway

Philippine embassy in Oslo brings early Christmas cheer to elderly

ANG PASKO AY SUMAPIT The choral training participants perform a beloved Christmas carol for the senior citizens

The Philippine embassy in Oslo brought the trademark early Filipino Christmas cheer to senior citizens with a mini-concert, which followed a choral and vocal training workshop for Filipino choirs earlier at the Solvang Helsehus in the Norwegian capital.

“As Filipinos start to celebrate Christmas as early as September, we have decided to also have our Norwegian friends experience our brand of Christmas through song,” Philippine Ambassador to Norway Enrico T. Fos said. “We hope they felt the warmth and cheer of the Filipino Christmas through the performance.”

TAYO AY MANGAGSIAWIT Participants train to better harness their voices and perform better as choir members

Around 40 singers from various Filipino choirs in Norway participated in the training, in cooperation with the Music for Environment and National Development (MEND). The Nightingales members Bernadette Mamauag and Katrina Saga, joined by MEND chairperson Fr. Dennis Cagantas and MEND corporate secretary and baritone Rommel Taniegra, shared tips and tricks on how to be better singers and choir members. The organization aims to use music as an instrument for healing and change. The group was inspired by Pope Francis’ Laudato Si and the celebration of the 500th anniversary of Christianity in the Philippines.

MUSIC AND THE FILIPINOS The Nightingales holds a mini-concert at the Solvang Helseus

During the choral and vocal training, participants were taught singing techniques through relaxing and preparing the body parts used for singing, better breathing, and vocal control, as well as steps on learning their vocal pieces better. According to the trainers, singers are vocal athletes themselves and need to always train and work hard to improve their voices and their performance. 

‘We have decided to also have our Norwegian friends experience our brand of Christmas through song.’

After the training, the participants used what they had learned and serenaded around 30 senior citizen residents of Solvang Helsehus with the classic Filipino carol “Ang Pasko ay Sumapit.”  The Nightingales also performed a selection of songs to entertain the crowd. 

SANTA’S ADVOCATE Philippine Ambassador to Norway Enrico T. Fos addresses the concert audience

The senior citizens were touched with the performance, saying that it had been two years since they were serenaded, with some teary-eyed and clapping as they enjoyed the music performed in a different language.

The Nightingales also gave a mini-concert at the Menighetslokale in Oslo a day before the training and visit to the senior citizens. The event was held in collaboration with the Sacred Heart Filipino chaplaincy Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

THE NIGHTINGALES Bernadette Mamauag and Katrina Saga (left photo) and baritone Rommel Taniegra (right photo) perform to the delight of the Filipino audience

The duo, along with Taniegra, performed a collection of classic, Filipino, and pop songs to the delight of their audience. Present during the concert were select members of the Filipino community in Oslo and their Norwegian friends who enjoyed a Friday night of music courtesy of The Nightingales. 

Ambassador Fos mentioned that choral training is part of the preparations for the “Paskong Pinoy” choral festival, which will feature Filipino Christian choirs representing various groups and churches in Norway. The event, which will also serve as one of the embassy’s Christmas events for Norway’s Filipino community, will be held on Dec. 1.

Photos courtesy of the Philippine embassy in Oslo