Students, teachers from all-girls school sing tributes for COVID-19 frontliners

Anjo Bagaoisan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 06 2020 08:40 AM

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Hoping to lift morale in the fight against COVID-19, the teachers and students of an all-girls school in Muntinlupa recorded a pair of spiritual songs for health workers and other frontliners. 

The members of the PAREF Woodrose School Chorale and their teachers' ensemble sang "Lead Me Lord" and "I Am Ever With You" from their own homes amid the quarantine. 

The separate renditions were edited into the mobile group singing format becoming increasingly popular during the time of social distancing. 

"Lead Me Lord", popularized by Gary Valenciano and written by Filipino Gospel composer Arnel De Pano, was performed a capella by the chorale composed of high school students. 

The teachers' group, meanwhile, sang with piano accompaniment for their version of "I Am Ever With You" by Jesuit Arnel Aquino, SJ and Himig Heswita. 

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Myrene Carballo, the conductor of the all-girls chorale and trainer of the teachers' choir, said they thought of doing this as their contribution to the country during this period. 

Last December, the Woodrose Chorale won top awards at a choir festival competition in Slovakia.

"I strongly felt this would be the right time for the world to hear their songs again--this time songs of hope that would strengthen each spirit," Carballo said. 

Both songs, she added, are favorites at the school, with "Lead Me Lord" usually performed by the girls' chorale as an invocation in school programs. 

Grade 10 student Bea Cabauatan, president of the chorale, said editing the video was the most challenging aspect of the effort. 

The girls were singing to a choral version of the song which was playing on their earphones. 

"Since our rendition of 'Lead Me Lord' was a capella, it was difficult to make sure that all the voices were synchronized and on time," Cabauatan said. 

Making the video, however, was close to their heart with some choir members having parents working at the hospitals. 

Lisa Sator, one of the teachers in the "I Am Ever With You", said their choice of tune was apt for this Holy Week. 

"It's a song about hope and love that is sung during Easter. And even if we may feel lost, afraid, and uncertain because Jesus has died, it's as if He consoles us through His resurrection," Sator said. 

"Have faith because He will be with us always. He will never abandon us. This is how God loves us, and we hope many will see this during this crisis."

The school has sent the videos to the staff of various hospitals in Metro Manila and the surrounding provinces. 

Some have begun using the songs to accompany their own invocations at the start of the workday, Carballo said. 

Others relayed their appreciation to the girls and teachers. 

To the frontliners, Sator said: "We pray that you carry with you always the spiritual strength to take on each day as it comes. Your sacrifice gives us hope, and your courage gives us strength."

Cabautan added their prayer that faith in God would overcome any anxiety or fear caused by the spread of the coronavirus. 

"These times are really hard but if we all work together as a united country, we will be able to win this battle just like any other. So let's stay optimistic."