News Release

Journalists Raffy Tima and Mariz Umali Attend the Tabernacle Choir Hope Tour at the Univeristy of Santo Tomas in Manila

The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square graced the Interfaith Community with a performance at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila on February 25, 2024. Entitled Himig ng Pag-asa or Melody of Hope, guests from diverse faith backgrounds and walks of life, including esteemed TV broadcasters Raffy Tima, anchor of the noontime show "Balintanghali" on GMA Network, and Mariz Umali, serving as a news producer for GMA Integrated News and anchor/host of the morning show "Unang Hirit." 

A Breathtaking Performance

"Nung sinabi na: Will you be interested to watch? Oo naman sobra. (When they asked: Will you be interested to watch? Yes, definitely.)" Mariz Umali expressed her excitement during the interview.

“It was such a breathtaking performance by the Tabernacle Choir,” Mariz continued. “Their voices really touched our hearts and lifted our spirits. We were really awed by the amazing performance.”

Describing their eagerness to attend, Mariz recounted, “We were invited just a few days back. One of my colleagues at Unang Hirit was also invited to the US to watch the Tabernacle Choir, and she told us how amazing the performance was. When I heard that it was going to be done here in the Philippines, we were invited, we freed up our schedule right away and said we were coming because we really wanted to see it live and we wanted to see it in person.”

“During the first part of the program, we were really enjoying it already, and my colleague, my friend Amihan asked me to just close my eyes and just listen to the music because it felt like we were in the forest. Truly, we were like floating when we were listening to the choir. It was such an amazing performance, and we thank everyone who invited us over,” Mariz added.

Raffy Tima, already acquainted with the Tabernacle choir, remarked, “It was really beautiful. I wish my parents were here, but they’re gone… they would have been glad to see this show. When they were in the US, they watched the Tabernacle Choir because they were based in Arizona in the 70s. Now, I’ve seen it for the first time.”

“I also watched the Tabernacle Choir on YouTube. I know that the choir is an award-winning choir,” Raffy shared.

Both Raffy Tima and Mariz Umali share a passion for singing, with Raffy adding with a smile, “We’re both members of the choir, so we are familiar with the Tabernacle Choir.”

The Unifying Power of Music

Mariz underscored the importance of mutual respect amidst religious affiliations, stating, “It’s important for us recognizing different faiths… that you don’t need to force someone to believe in the faith you have, but just respecting the faith that they have… it’s very important for us.”

She further expressed, “It unites everyone (the power of music) even though we are from different faiths. Everyone was just united, and everyone was just enjoying… it really lifted our spirits and we wanted to hear more.”

“I am Protestant, she’s Catholic,” Raffy noted.

"Even though we did not understand the lyrics, the music and the sound were very inspiring." Raffy, reflecting on his experience.

A Beautiful Rendition of "Bahay-Kubo"

Mariz Umali, impressed by the Tabernacle Choir singing in the Filipino language, said, “We were amazed because they were able to pronounce it so well. [It was] a very beautiful rendition of Bahay-Kubo. I wish more Filipinos would watch the Tabernacle Choir.”

On the Tabernacle Choir tour, Mariz expressed her hopes for more opportunities to enjoy their music, stating, “We wish they sing some more. I wish they stay longer and do this in every part of the country.”

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