Founded in 2017 by Karlene Moreno-Hayworth, the British Filipino singing group Haraya Choir (HC) made history on the 1st of March when they bagged the grand prize in Manchester Amateur Choir Competition 2020 (http://themacc.org.uk/).
Held at the prestigious auditorium of the Royale Northern College of Music in the city of Manchester (RNCM), Haraya Choir emerged victorious over 16 choral groups from the different parts of the United Kingdom, ~a first for an Asian group in this competition.
It was an exhausting day for the choir members as they performed live at Manchester Piccadilly Station. They braved the chilly northern gust but were warmly supported by local Filipino society members before heading to RNCM for the main event.
Haraya presented three pieces- two songs in Filipino: Kruhay, Anak and for their closing performance, an English song with The Circle of life. They were duly rewarded with a standing ovation, not only from the audience but also from one of the judges.
A member of the judges’ panel gave an unconventional live feedback immediately after the performance that added to the suspense. She had nothing but praise for the group, “What is really outstanding about today was that you came prepared to re-do what you’ve obviously rehearsed, you can’t come in and do this on pure adrenaline. So I thank you for having prepared so meticulously…you took your own personality into each performance and created animal sounds, coming from the jungle…You made me feel like I could speak the language (Kruhay and Anak)… It’s more about sharing skills and setting the standard for what a choral music is all about, but the way you do that song (Circle of life) is just “RIDICULOUS!”
At the end of the day, the tension was drummed up a notch as the judges announced the runner-ups down to the winner.
This experience proved to be as memorable and extraordinary for this was, after all, Haraya’s first outing in the choral competition scene, singing in front of a large British audience.
Leap year weekend 2020 proved itself to be even more unforgettable for all the choir members who traveled to Manchester from London as Haraya has written a new page into its history. The group’s hard work and months of preparation were rewarded.
Haraya Choir is a very young ensemble so please watch out for more activities to come. This passionate choral group is eager to work even harder at their singing and more importantly, in connecting people through the art of music in the future.
The group is thankful for the support they have received from their families, friends and the Filipino Community in Manchester who came out to support them.
Make sure you follow and like their social media pages: FB, IG Twitter ( Haraya Choir ) to get more updates.