The FCCP Vocal Ensemble has grown from a church-based choir to a community glee club delighting audiences wherever and whenever they perform. One of their recent performances was at the Pinoy Pasko Festival at the Tumbalong Park in Sydney and well, yes, they rock!
The group’s strength is based on their common bond that is faith and on their shared passion that is music. Other than that, they’re the regular young Fil-Aussie professionals just going about their migrant lives with lots of fun and a touch of music.
“None of us are professional singers. We just love to sing. We are a diverse group of professionals in IT, finance, nursing, and other fields,” explains Giselle Goloy, one of the pioneer members of the choir.
“It was our passion and love for music that got us together and because were having so much fun, we became friends outside choir practice and the church. We practice once a week and we also hang out a lot. We’ve been on several weekend out-of-town trips and boy, do we love watching concerts together!”
Their group took years in the making. The ensemble’s formation is traced to the opening of the Filipino Chaplaincy Chatswood Parish (thus FCCP) in April 2007. They started out as a regular church choir and were only singing once a month during the Filipino Mass until they were asked by one of the parish coordinators to do the 4th Sunday children’s morning Mass (non-Filipino Mass).
The group yearned for a more formal choir and soon scouted for dedicated members through word of mouth and from friends of friends. Those who wanted to join had to attend regular practice and audition in front of the group.
“More than a good voice, we wanted members who had a good ear and could harmonise easily. We’ve been singing at the church for four years now and we are very grateful for the support we get from our FCCP community. We hope that through our singing, we have encouraged more parishioners to attend Mass.”
Over the last two years, the FCCP Vocal Ensemble has branched out and sang at wedding ceremonies and community functions like the Independence Day celebrations under the auspices of the Consulate, the Pasko Festival, at the Australia Church Women’s Conference in Epping, and most recently at the Australia Philippine Business Council year-end ball. They also sang at the Flores de Mayo Mass in North Sydney.
Members go beyond choir duty and in a way the ensemble has become a support group for this band of young professionals. Choir member Mary says the choir is like a beautiful puzzle fit together.
“It feels like it was meant na magkakila-kilala kaming lahat. Iba-ibang personalities pero we all have one common love for music. Tapos perfect timing pa yung pag-join nang bawa’t isa. Bawat isa meron talagang naging role – not only about choir stuff pero kahit sa personal na buhay.”
“Ang saya talaga pag randomly kaming kumakanta. Di ko magawa yun with most people,” says Lester, another choir member.
“I think being in the choir is therapeutic. We have an outlet for our talent and creativity and we’ve gained wonderful friends along the way,” says Giselle.
“I believe that making beautiful music together comes from knowing and loving the people you sing with and we all feel that love and care for each other. While the choir needs us – it’s not a choir without singers – we need the choir in our lives just as much.”
[You can listen to their music by visiting FCCP Vocal Ensemble on Facebook]
CHOIR MEMBERS: SOPRANOS: Mary Alarcio, Charisse Arpafo, Jean Dimanarig, Mariz Espinosa, Lynne Moncada, Caroline Sosito, Olivia Villanueva (also pianist); ALTOS: Rhea Mae Bulquerin, Giselle Goloy, Sheila Arellano-Macaraeg, Mae Annabelle Magtibay; TENORS: Mark Alarcio, Anton Piccio, Bobby Quiñones, Lester Salcedo; BASS: Ryan Balboa, Kristian Garcia, Ricardo Mariano, Jerome Rodriguez