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[box type=”default” size=”large”] An evening of world-class choir music is expected [/box]

The concert set to be staged by the world-famous UST (University of Santo Tomas) Singers in the evening of June 28 (Saturday) at the Avondale High School Theater in Auburn Hills, Michigan will go on as scheduled despite an initial setback encountered by the multi-awarded choral group.

The setback arose from the rejection by the US Embassy in Manila of the choir members’ applications for special visas in their capacity as ambassadors of goodwill.

The denial of the applications prompted officials of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to comment that new US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg had started his term with the wrong foot when he listened to embassy personnel who belittle Philippine ambassadors of goodwill visiting the US.

The US Embassy had earlier ignored a DFA’s note verbale issued in connection with the concert tour of the UST Singers in the US.

In a message sent to Dr. Stella Evangelista, whose group (USTMAAM) of the organizers of the June 28 concert of UST Singers in Michigan, Ambassador Jose Zaide of DFA stated that the choir members’ applications for special visas as ambassadors of goodwill were rejected despite the note verbale issued by DFA.

In spite of the setback, the group left last week for its three-month US concert tour.

As a consequence of the disapproval of the applications for special visas, the 32 members of the choral group had to use their regular passports in reapplying for US visas.

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Ambassador Zaide said that as in previous years, DFA issued the UST choir members official passports with note verbale 1894-2014 (dated May 21, 2014) informing the US Embassy that the ensemble is “to perform in the United States as part of the 27th Concert Tour 2014 of the University of Santo Tomas Singers upon the invitation of the Philippine Embassy in Washington, DC, from 23 May to 4 August 2014.”

Despite the DFA endorsement, the US Consul denied the visa applications allegedly because the Philippine government was not paying their airfare. As a consequence, the UST Singers had to use regular passports and re-apply for regular visas.

In their previous US concerts, the US Embassy granted the UST Singers special visas.

Zaide said that Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) president Dr. Raul Sunico informed him that this year’s concert tour incurred over P800,000 in additional expense because of airline penalty for late departure and the cost of visas.

Meanwhile, it was reported that the sale of tickets to the concert has picked up.

Several Filipino-Americans, who have heard about the awards received by the multi-awarded UST Singers in choral competitions in Europe, want to listen to their music and watch how their performance. They expect an evening of amazing choir music.

The cheap cost of the tickets to the concert has enticed others to watch the performance. Tickets for adults cost $10 each, and the cost for children below 12 years old, $5.

The concert will be presented by the UST Medical Alumni Association of Michigan and the Filipino American Community Council. The proceeds will be for the benefit of the Philippine American Community Council and the Paaralang Pilipino.

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People who wish to become sponsors and those who want to make ticket reservations are asked to call any one of the following: FILAMCCO President Imelda Martin-Hum, 810-814-2118; Rose Caoagas, 248-797-9093; and Betsy Henry, 248-770-3422.