They were once lost souls who gained their voice after competing and winning the BPop A CapellaChallenge last year.
Vox Anima Cebu, started as a group of 16 friends who considered themselves lost but want to use their voice in spreading God’s words.
“We’ve been friends for four years as we attend and serve the same church before we decided to come up with a singing group in 2017,” said Rodolfo Denolan.
The group’s name represented what they aim as a group, which is to become the voice of God’s words.
“We searched in Google some words and we came up with ‘Vox Anima’ which means ‘voice of soul’, which is what we are. We considered ourselves lost souls, but now speaks about God’s liturgy through our voice expressed in our songs,” he said.
They practiced and sing praises to God in their church withDenolan who also acts as the group’s conductor. He patiently helpedother group members to practice and train their voice to sing well even without musical instruments.
Competition for a Cause
Incidentally, it was also in 2017 when the Primary Group of Builders first organized the BPop A Capella Challenge, which is a competition that aims to promote Cebuano music and also raise funds for the Primary Structures Educational Foundation Inc. – School of Knowledge, Industrial labor, Leadership and Services (PSEFI-SKILLS) Foundation.
“A Capella is singing without any instrumental accompaniment, which makes the competition more special because it truly showcases the skills of the competitors in creating music. The Primary Group of Builders believes in synergy and innovation, and the organization feel that A Capella pictures synergy and it espouses all of the companies under the Primary Group of Builders,” said Paulette D. Liu, chief operating officer of PSEFI-SKILLS Foundation.
The competition was also aimed to express the organization’s desire to promote Cebuano music through the A Capella challenge, that is something very widely practiced in other countries and also hope to help create enough interest about A Capella so that it becomes something that the Cebuano community will embrace and catch up on.
A Destiny and a Blessing
Denolan said they saw a post on Facebook about the competition and decided to try it out.
“A friend of mine posted it in one of our groups and I got curious. It’s the first one of its kind here in Cebu and we wanted to try and compete,” he said.
So the group with its Sopranos Alma Loraine Ylanan, Mercy Caballero, Fritzhelle Gernale, Karen Mae Pacala; Altos JanineIbones, Crisjien Lequin, Denolan; BassLyle Anga, Milton Badana, Hakeem Duazo, Gian Lawrence Pacaldo, Van David Booc; and Tenors Jerald Cumayas, John Kevin Constancio, Francis Val Francisco and Celso Sabequil Jr. went on to compete and take home the Champion’s Trophy after beating other groups with their soulful voices.
“I remember feeling a lot of pressure because we were competing with a lot of other talented groups. I think we won because, apart from giving it our best, we also just enjoyed ourselves,” said Denolan.
Perhaps it was their destiny as well as God’s way of blessing them as the competition helped open up more opportunities for Vox Anima.
After winning the competition, the group are often invited for gigs outside of their church including all major events of the Primary Group of Builders. They have also already released a Christmas album which includes some of their favorite songs to perform “Pasko Na” and “Manaygon Ta.” These songs are available in Youtube.
They also perform on weddings with their customers usually reaching out to them through their Facebook Page “Vox Anima Cebu” or through their contact numbers 09225237115 and 09054437128.
According to Delona, they are now planning to do a chorale concert, where they can gather a bigger crowd to enjoy their music.
“We’ve been practicing a lot now to make that concert happen someday because that way we can reach more people, sing to them the words of God and also earn funds for our group,” he said.
BPop A Capella Challenge 2019
With the success of the competition, the Primary Group of Builders will again hold BPop A Capella Challenge 2019 on November 9, 2019 at the SM Seaside City SkyHall.
The program will start at 6 p.m. where the top three finalists – The Basics, The Arkapella and Primiero, will compete for the Grand Champion Award. There will also be special performances from guest artists Wonggoys, Jerika Teodorico and Melody Hudgson.
The top three finalists were selected during a live elimination round last July 13, 2019 held at the SKILLS Multipurpose Hall.
The tickets for the November 9 event are sold at P500 each, with all proceeds going to the PSEFI-SKILLS Foundation.
Lua encouraged Cebuanos to support the event by buying tickets saying this is a good way to give back as the proceeds will help many scholars under the PSEFI-SKILLS Foundation.
“In our previous events, we were able to raise around P500,000. This amount was be able to help 30 scholars to study at SKILLS for free. We hope to raise more this year so that we can provide for more scholarships through our foundation,” said Lua.
Aside from the scholarships, the organization also hopes to recreate the success of Vox Anima to more A Capella groups in Cebu.
According to Lua all of the finalists were given record deals for a Christmas album to be released during the event on November 9, and the Grand Champion will receiveP50,000 in cash, a trophy and guesting contracts with Primary Group of Builders worth P50,000.
“We are so proud of what has become of Vox Anima and we are happy that our competition helped open up more opportunities for them. We’d like to help more. Cebuanos are very talented and we’d like to help them by providing a venue where they can showcase these talents,” said Lua.
For their part, Denolan encouraged competing groups to never be afraid.
“Dare to be bold and never be afraid to be out there – to be different,” he said.