2 Pinoy boys join one of Europe’s oldest choirs

By Daniel Infante Tuaño

BARCELONA – Two Filipino boys in Spain successfully passed the auditions of the prestigious and oldest boys’ choir in Europe.

Jomari Chavez and Kevin Marquez, both 10, are now part of the l’escolania de Montserrat or the Montserrat Boys’ Choir.

Jomari Chavez, one of two members of Filipino descent of Montserrat Boys' Choir

Jomari Chavez Edan Galino, one of two members of Filipino descent of Montserrat Boys’ Choir

Kevin Marquez Lilagan singing at a benefit concert with the Montserrat Boys' Choir.

Kevin Marquez Lilagan singing at a benefit concert with the Montserrat Boys’ Choir.

They were part of the recently concluded benefit concert held at the Iglesia de San Agustin.

Aside from singing and learning to play musical instruments, they must also study elementary and high school at the Montserrat monastery.

The monthly tuition is more than 500 euros or about P27,000, but the two were granted financial support. They won’t have to spend education, food, uniform, fares, as well as expenses related to overseas concerts.

They will live in Montserrat and would be allowed to go home every weekend to their parents.

This kind of arrangement first made Malou Chavez hesitate to enroll her only son there. But the school’s security, quality of education and the disciple they instill in children put her at ease.

“Natutuwa yung amo ko kasi ang sabi niya kung pera ang batayan, maraming mayayaman ang mag-aaral doon. Ang batayan doon talaga ay boses,” said Mrs. Chavez.

For her part, Dolores Marquez fully trusted the institution as her eldest son, Mark Kenjie, had been a part of the boys’ choir.

Mark Kenjie was the first-ever Filipino member of the l’escolania de Montserrat.

“Maganda naman ang buhay nila doon pero talagang mahirap. Pero talagang maganda, para sa kanila, para sa kinabukasan nila. Sacrifice lang dahil mahihiwalay,” said Marquez.

Mark Kenjie is now a member of a popular Catalan choir, the Orfeo Catala.

“Alam na po nilang magbasa ng music, isang instrumento po kung mas maganda pag mayroon silang alam, tapos yung boses po pinaka-importante,” Mark Kenjie said to Pinoys aspiring to become choir members.

Mark Kenjie Marquez, the first Filipino member in the history of L'Escolania de Montserrat with his brother Kevin.

Mark Kenjie Marquez, the first Filipino member in the history of L’Escolania de Montserrat with his brother Kevin.

School prefect Fr. Sergi d’Assis Gelpi is happy with his Filipino students and urged more Pinoys to join the choir.

“We would love to have more Philippine boys because the experience we have with these families is so nice. They are very nice people, very catholic people. They love music. So if there’s any Philippine boy who has a good voice, it would be great to join our choir and to share with us the experience at Montserrat,” he said. ABS-CBNnews.com

Watch the related TV report aired on Balitang Global, TFC, ABS-CBN:

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