University of the Philippines Singing Ambassadors

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University of the Philippines Singing Ambassadors
Also known asUP Singing Ambassadors, UPSA
Origin Quezon City, Philippines
Genres Choral music
Years active1980–present
Website Official website
Members Edgardo L. Manguiat
(musical director and conductor, 1980-present)

The University of the Philippines Singing Ambassadors, also known as the UP Singing Ambassadors or UPSA, is one of the major performing musical groups based at the University of the Philippines Diliman (UP-Diliman) in Quezon City, Philippines. UPSA is the State University's official performing group for choreographed choral music and resident choir of the UP College of Arts and Letters. The UPSA has performed music from different styles: classical music, international songs, spirituals, ethnic, Broadway, pop, jazz, gospel, inspirational songs and rock. As ambassadors of Philippine culture, the UPSA incorporates cultural dances, costumes and traditions from various regions in the Philippines as part of its repertoire.


The UPSA has won numerous accolades and citations, locally and internationally, including a slot at the 2002 European Choral Grand Prix.

Brief history

The UPSA was initially formed as the Kalayaan Choral Crowd, a freshman dormitory choir of the Kalayaan Residence Hall at the University of the Philippines' Diliman campus. It was later reorganized as the University of the Philippines Singing Ambassadors in 1980.

Edgardo Manguiat, winner of the Dirigentenpreis (Conductor's Award) in the 2nd Johannes Brahms Int’l. Choir Competition in Germany, is the Founder and Conductor of The U.P. Singing Ambassadors (UPSA). He was a former member of the University of the Philippines Concert Chorus (UPCC).

As a member of the International Federation of Choral Music (IFCM), Ed attended the 1st and the 4th World Symposia on Choral Music in Vienna, Austria and Sydney, Australia, respectively. Here, Ed attended Choral workshops and master classes under world-renowned choral musicians like Sweden‘s Eric Ericsson.

As a student at the U.P. College of Music, he studied vocal pedagogy under Aurelio Estanislao, Fides Cuyugan-Asencio, Andrea Veneracion and Elmo Makil; and choral conducting under Rey T. Pagiuo, Elmo Makil, Flora Rivera, and Joel Navarro.

Ed has served as Vocal Coach and Consultant of several NAMCYA 1st prize winners like the 3-time national winner Loboc Children's Choir of Bohol. Ed composes and does choral arrangements. His most recent works include one of the themes in the internationally acclaimed film Magnifico.

His outstanding achievements earned him the pride of his own hometown as he received the Golden Achievers Award during the 50th Anniversary Celebration of Lipa City in 1997, and the Most Outstanding Lipeño in the Field of Music in 1993.


Like two other UP-based choirs (namely, the Philippine Madrigal Singers (the Madz) and the UP Concert Chorus (UPCC)), the UPSA has gained national prominence through its participation in international choral competitions.

Winning the Gran Premio Città at the Concorso Polifonico Internazionale Guido d'Arezzo in Italy in 2001 (thus far the only Asian choir winning the award), [1] the UPSA was eligible to compete as one of the finalists in the 14th European Grand Prix of Choral Singing in 2002. [2] Together with the Madz, the UST Singers and the Ateneo Glee Club, the UPSA is one of only four Filipino choirs who were eligible to compete in the European Choral Grand Prix.

The UPSA is the 2002 & 2010 ALIW Awardee for Best Choral Group, the Most Outstanding University Choir in the 2004 Who's Who in the Philippines Consumer's Choice Awards and the Philippine entry to the UNESCO International Music Prize 2005 held in Paris, France. The choir recently celebrated its 30th anniversary by conducting its 7th European Tour and holding a grand reunion concert at the Cultural Center of the Philippines on August 27, 2010.

The UPSA also has the distinction of being the only choir that has won three awards in the 51-year history of the Certamen internacional de Habaneras y Polifonia de Torrevieja [3] in Torrevieja, Spain. This competition was also participated in by the Philippine Madridal Singers a year before UPSA joined the competition.

In the 2008 European Tour, the UP Singing Ambassadors brought home twelve awards from prestigious choral competitions in France, Hungary, Poland, Switzerland and Wales in the United Kingdom. The awards include two grand prizes, seven 1st prizes, three 3rd prizes plus five grand prize qualifications.

In addition, the UPSA has also won awards at choral competitions in Trencianske Teplice in Slovakia and Prague, the Czech Republic (grand prize); in Wernigerode, Germany (first prize); Neuchâtel, Switzerland; Maasmechelen, Belgium; Cantonigros in Spain; Gorizia, Italy; Arnhem, The Netherlands; Pardubice, Czech Republic; Varna, Bulgaria; and Tours, France.

Gretchen Espina, the first Pinoy Idol is also a member of the UP Singing Ambassadors.


The UPSA has performed at various cities in the Philippines and abroad. To date, they have performed in Austria, Australia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Israel, South Korea, Luxembourg, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, The Netherlands and the USA.

In addition, the UPSA also participated in the following activities:

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