Providence High School Soars to New Heights with “Lakbay ng Agila”

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After months of dedication, collaboration, and musical innovation, Providence High School shares the world debut of “Lakbay ng Agila,” an original song composed by Saunder Choi and written by Joey Vargas. The prestigious Carnegie Hall will set the stage for this historic performance by Providence Singers, the advanced choral group of Providence High School, on April 6, 2024 at 8:30 pm ET. Members of the Sisters of Providence as well as executive leaders and board members of Providence health system will travel from the Seattle area to support Providence High School at the National Masterwork Chorus performance in New York.

“Lakbay ng Agila,” translating to “The Eagle’s Flight” in Tagalog, is an original song crafted to raise awareness about the conservation of the Philippine eagle, an endangered species due to deforestation and habitat loss. Written by acclaimed poet Joey G. Vargas and composed by Saunder Choi, the commission of this song represents Providence High School’s commitment to centering student voices, uplifting our mission and values, and promoting social justice.

The inception of “Lakbay ng Agila” began with an inquiry from student, Andrea Ferrer ‘24, to Choral Director of 14 years, Marisa Bradfield after Providence Singers learned, rehearsed, and performed another piece by Choi, “Leron, Leron Sinta” in 2022. Marisa Bradfield and Saunder Choi had been long-time acquaintances in the local choral community for years. Ferrer’s question and Bradfield’s connections served as the catalyst that led to Providence embarking on a journey to commission a new composition with approval from Providence High School’s Head of School, Scott McLarty.

“This is an exciting moment both for our choral program and for Providence Through this commission, we are not just giving our students the opportunity to perform on one of the world’s greatest stages; we are making a permanent contribution to the world of music,” shares Head of School, Scott McLarty.

The creative process was a whirlwind of excitement and innovation, with students and Bradfield working closely with Choi to bring the vision to life. Inspired by the rich cultural musical heritage of the Philippines, reflected within Providence High School’s student body and within his own life experiences, as well as and the plight of the Philippine eagle, “Lakbay ng Agila” emerged as a six-minute tribute resonating with the essence of Filipino folk music fused with contemporary elements.

As the world premiere at Carnegie Hall draws near, the anticipation among Providence Singers is palpable. Months of rigorous rehearsals, including sessions with composer Saunder Choi, have prepared the choir for this historic moment. A Carnegie Hall encore performance will be held on May 6, 2024, at 6:40 pm at Emmauel Lutheran Church located at 6020 Radford Avenue, North Hollywood, CA 91606.

Free admission for the public, donations are welcome.

Marisa Bradfield expressed her pride in the collective effort, stating, “We’ve created a new work that will now be shared with choral ensembles around the world. Providence High School’s name will always live in the inscription. It’s pretty amazing to have been part of an experience that supports living BIPOC [Black, Indigenous, and People of Color] musicians, writers, and poets, in this project we connected with two phenomenal AAPI [Asian American and Pacific Islander] artists.”

“Lakbay ng Agila” is not just a musical composition; it symbolizes the collective journey of Providence High School, celebrating cultural diversity, student empowerment, and artistic expression. As we prepare to witness the soaring melodies of “Lakbay ng Agila,” let us embrace the transformative power of art and the remarkable achievements of our students that inspire change and shaping the world one melody at a time.

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