A wondrous mix of sacred and secular music from The Tabernacle Choir

The world-famous Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, formerly known as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the US made a rousing debut in the Philippines. Their two-day concert, titled Himig ng Pag-asa, was held last 27 to 28 February at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

The choir is composed of 360 vocalists and 70 instrumentalists, many of whom are volunteers eager to share their talents all over the world because their stunning music transcends cultural boundaries to bring joy, peace, healing and hope.

Homegrown Broadway star Lea Salonga joined the choir in several performances, including the OPM classic “Hahanapin Ko” and “The Story Goes On” from the musical Baby. As the special guest performer, she truly enlivened the concert and lived up to the audience’s anticipation of seeing her outstanding performance. Salonga considered this event as a reunion concert with the choir as she had performed with them in a Christmas concert two years ago.

Another guest artist, Ysabelle Cuevas, a Filipino singer and content creator based in the US, dished out a lively number backed up by a group of young performers. Celebrity couple and media practitioners Paolo Abrera and Suzi Entrata-Abrera served as hosts.

The concert performed a lineup called Songs of the World, featuring international selections like “¡Ah, el novio no quere dinero!” (a Sephardic wedding song) and “Betelehemu” (a Nigerian carol). This segment showcased the choir’s versatility and ability to connect with audiences through universal themes of love and joy.

Another segment, Songs of the Land included selections like “Music Everywhere” (with lyrics adapted from S. W. Foster’s original work) and “Cindy” (an American folk song) that demonstrated the choir’s appreciation for culture and heritage.

The concert concluded with the Hymns of Hope segment, featuring “Let Us All Press On” and “The Spirit of God.” They also included Filipino tunes like “Hawak-Kamay” by Yeng Constantino and the folksy “Bahay Kubo,” which got the audience singing along while waving their phone flashlights.

Indeed, The Tabernacle Choir of Temple Square’s visit to the Philippines made a big impact on the audience through heartfelt rendition of sacred music, with a bit of secular tunes.