Music, Thoughts

My Madz Wonderland


      “You’re mad, bonkers, completely off your head. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.”– Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

I stumbled into the Philippine Madrigal Singers as Alice fell down that mystical rabbit hole into Wonderland – with uncertainty, awe, and wonder. It was a world I’ve never imagined I could one day be a part of. But it was also new, unfamiliar, and in the beginning, very intimidating. The Madz Wonderland never rests. There is always something new, a piece of music, a place, a person, a culture, a language, a word (many strange words have been conceived in this semi circle) . It is dynamic as it is exciting, and the initiation to the group as a trainee is whether or not you can keep up with its dynamic pace whilst delivering the standard of excellence.


The first thing you notice after recovering from the awe is that the concept of time is warped. You have another clock to measure time with. In this wonderland, you measure time by the number of pieces you’ve memorised, by how many hours left you have to memorize x before the concert; not knowing if you will make it until you make it, knowing that there is really no other option. The hours always seem too short but mostly just enough when you’ve acquired the discipline and skill to arrange all the music into your head, sometimes within minutes, as any Madz member would know.


Madz batchmates – April, Trisha, Nil’s, Cel and Krystl! Missing Ronnel Paz (1986-2015)

From the outside, it looks like time stops and you look like you’re in Neverland to the rest of the world.

Your clock is not really in sync with the people around you – figuratively, because you come home from a major concert at 1am and wake up at 10-11am; and literally, because you travel different timezones a lot. The truth is, time is extremely fast when you’re in the Madz. In fact, time never stops for anyone. Only when I look and stop at some point do I realise how much songs we’ve sung, how many concerts we’ve done, how many places and countries we’ve travelled, how many people we’ve met, and how much we have evolved mentally, musically, emotionally, spiritually and yes, very much physically. Hahaha 

Madz Altos 2012-2015
His Excellency, Sir Mark Anthony Carpio

You come home from a long concert tour and you see that not much has really changed around you, yet somehow, something inside you has immensely transformed. Just like Alice coming out of wonderland, it is difficult to explain to others the elation of being inside this musical and magical semi-circle, the relief of still having your head intact, and the triumph and glory of having escaped and defeated the big-headed Queen of Hearts – which sometimes happens be the music and limited time you are challenged with… and sometimes the Queen of Hearts is basically that member who scrutinises not only your notes, but the essence of your presence in the semi-circle (each choir has this kind of person, and I must note, it is important to have these kinds of people as they keep the standard high) .


38007979_10155989161728577_3804773603241623552_nYou are never really the same person you were once you embark on this journey. With only sheer curiosity and passion leading the uncertain path, little did I know then how this one decision could continue to shape the course of my life even until today.

Last Sunday, instead of feeling like Alice visiting wonderland again, I felt as though Wonderland visited my world, where all the characters and stories resurface and reunite, but very much aware of present time, and how it will all shortly come to an end. 

Thank you Madz, for this wonderland experience. I now return to my daily life, carrying it along with me, and paying it forward by sharing what I have learned, in music and in life, to the people I teach and come across.


Cheers cheers!









High and Low

As the notes go higher, keep the sound grounded and full. As you sing lower, don’t press too hard – think light and high. 

Some paradoxes of life. Even choral singing has some something to say about finding center and balance. 

Music, Philosophy, Thoughts, Travels

Midnight in Italy

Speaking of rekindling childlike wonder, this video captures one of precious moments when I’ve felt like a kid again, like I was in a movie where anything can happen. Everything was just surreal. 

An Italian choir from Turin,whom we simply happened to pass by and befriend along the streets of Arezzo, jammed with us. When it was time for us to say goodbye, they serenaded us with a goodnight song. Incidentally, there was a couple passing by who heard the music and started to dance, and in the magic of the moment, heres what happened…Heres to music, to love, and to good madness in any corner of the world! ❤


“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” ~Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Music, Philosophy

The Most Beautiful Sound in the World

So reader’s digest has a fill-in-the-blanks contest on their page:

“The most beautiful sound in the world is…”

Napaisip ako ah. I was tempted to link the Philippine Madrigal Singer’s  rendition of Randall Stroope’s Rivider le Stelle in the European Grand Prix 2007 in which they bagged 1st place.

There is no better sound in the world that speaks and sings of hope and reaching the divine. The Italian text is an excerpt from Dante Alighieri’s Divina Comedia.

Once Again We Beheld the Stars

But soon it will be night and we must rise to the stars.
Now is the time to depart this place
for we have seen and experienced it all.
Keep moving! Return to paradise.
The wings of hell’s monarch are heard nearby.
We must leave quickly,

but soon it will be night.
I climbed toward paradise with no thought of looking back.
I passed through a small opening
and finally saw heaven and the supreme light
and beheld once again the stars.





Bringing a Part of Home to Those Away.

Just finished a concert of sacred music together with 2 other amazing choirs, one from Sweden and another one from Italy. After our spot, and after having exited, the audience asked for more. “Bis! Bis!”, the Italians yelled. The chairs were being taken out when the staff were immediately instructed to put them back. We went back towards the front of the altar, towards our designated chairs and sir Mark went in front once again to cue our bow. As we sat down, sir Mark, still standing, addressed the audience, “Cantiamo Magnificat in Filipino” (We will sing Magnificat in Filipino).

As we started singing “Ang Puso Ko’y Nagpupuri”, which was arranged by Paulo K Tiról, I suddenly noticed that there were actually Filipinos in the audience, standing at the sides of the church. They wore such huge smiles filled with pride and a lady even started to sing along with us. This sight really made my day. It feels really good to bring a part of home to Filipinos far away.