Besting 13 choirs from various countries, the 32-member University of Santo Tomas Singers was named the best ensemble during the recently concluded Florence International Choir Competition in Italy.
The Singers were given a replica of Michelangelo's David, the "emblem of Florence," in honor of their "excellent artistic performance" in the competition, which is now on its fourth year.
UST Conductor Fidel Calalang Jr. also received the Best Interpretation of the Obligatory Piece for his arrangement of Gaetano Lorandi's "Vergine o natura sacra" and the Best Contemporary Composer's Arrangement for his arrangement of Ennio Morricone's "My Heart and I".
Meanwhile, soloist Roberto Tagalog earned the Best Male Soloist Performance award for his version of "Gabaq-an" by Ruben Federizon.
The UST Singers also received gold medals for the Mixed Choirs Adults, Sacred Music, Popular, Folk, Gospel, and Barbershop Ensembles, and Modern and Contemporary music categories.
Because of their interpretation of "Vergine o natura sacra", the choir was also hailed for having the best performance under the category of Modern and Contemporary Music.