The UP Concert Chorus, UPCC, or simply Korus, is one of the official performing groups of the University of the Philippines. As an internationally-competitive choir, Korus has mastered versatility in singing classical, folk, pop and Broadway musical genres with signature vibrant choreography. Korus has become a veritable icon of performing arts, as the pioneer of ChoreoCapella or choreographed a cappella, in the Philippines.
UPCC began in 1962 at a time of great political unrest in the Philippines. Then UP President Gen. Carlos P. Romulo decreed that the UPCC, which was then called the UP Mixed Choir, to be the official choir of the entire University of the Philippines System. Based at the UP’s flagship campus in Diliman, Quezon City, the UPCC was originally trained under conductor Dean Ramon Tapales and associate conductors Johnny Ramos, Dean Ramon P. Santos and Flora Rivera.
In 1969, the late Dean Paguio took over as conductor. He took the UPCC to a higher level of competition – international. From 1974 to 1988, UPCC went on seven international concert tours. In 1974, it was named one of the world’s best choirs at the Lincoln Center International Choral Festival in New York. In the 90’s it went on six international tours in the U.S. and Europe.
In October 1999, with the sudden death of Dean Paguio, the leadership was passed on to Professor Janet Sabas-Aracama, the current conductor, who was a member of the faculty at the UP College of Music. A soloist, she was an acclaimed distinguished musician, both as a conductor and a performer.
Led by Professor Janet Sabas-Aracama, the "Korus" garnered the Grand Prix at the 6th International Krakow Choir Festival in Poland on June 14, 2015 for being the best choir of the festival, besting 23 other choirs from all over Europe and the USA. Along with this, Korus also won 1st Place in the Mixed Choirs Category, and 2nd Place in the Folk, Pop, and Gospel Category, astounding an international jury comprised of world-renowned music giants. In another acclaimed festival held in Poznan, Poland, the 12th International Festival of University Choirs, Korus left multitude of audiences awestruck with its signature outstanding performance. This earned Korus a spot in the local and international news headlines, being the only choir receiving multiple standing ovations during its festival performance alongside 10 other choirs from all over the world.
In its Golden Year tour in 2012, Korus joined prestigious international competitions and triumphed in all of them. Korus won the First Prize in the Folk Category and Second Prize in the Mixed Category at the Festival Internacional de Musica de Cantonigros in Catalonia, Spain. Korus also won the Gold Diploma and Audience Prize at the 9th Cantemus International Festival in Nyiregyhaza, Hungary. With all of these international recognitions, Korus was feted with the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award by the Aliw Awards Foundation and the 2013 and 2016 Ani ng Dangal Award by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.
Throughout the years, Korus has proven that it has done more than just showcasing exceptional talents. With a brilliant 55-year tradition of compelling interpretations, vibrant choreography, theatrical expressions, eye-catching costumes, and a charisma that is uniquely Filipino, UPCC continues to revolutionize choral performance arts in the country and even across the world.