Chorus Paulinus

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Chorus Paulinus
The Chorus Paulinus U.S. Concert Tour in 2001
The Chorus Paulinus U.S. Concert Tour in 2001
Background information
Origin Quezon City, Philippines
Genre(s) Classical
Years active 1992 – Present
Philippine Madrigal Singers or MADZ
Hearts of Jesus and Mary
Website Chorus Paulinus

The Chorus Paulinus or CHOPA is regarded as one of the most highly acclaimed choirs in the Philippines. It is known for its unique a cappella-style blending of voices that creates a sound reflective of its high choral standards.



1992: Beginnings

Chorus Paulinus was founded on February 10, 1992 by Arnold Zamora with Frederick de Santos as assistant music director. The name Chorus Paulinus was coined from the name of the parish, St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Timog, Quezon City, where the choir originally served. Since its inception, the choir has regarded itself first and foremost, as a church choir. The goal was to simply spread the word of God through music. However, this has not stopped the choir from pursuing choral excellence. In order to achieve this, the directors, who are the only members with a formal music education, decided to screen applications via auditions to limit the membership in quality and quantity. The choir’s initial activities consisted of providing music during masses, weddings, funerals, and other special occasions upon invitation of the parishioners. Outside the church, the choir started rehearsing for and performing at Madz et al - a yearly choral festival reserved for groups who are conducted by members or alumni of the Philippine Madrigal Singers.

1993-2002: Decade of successful endeavors

Message of founder Arnold Zamora to Chorus Paulinus

In the years that followed, the choir continued to work hard to improve their musicality. Two-hour rehearsals were held at least twice a week. Before the end of 1993, their efforts were rewarded as they won their first national title. Chorus Paulinus bagged the grand prize of the National Chorale Competition sponsored by Caritas Manila and the Department of Trade Industry (DTI). Chorus Paulinus then began making waves in the local choral scene. They were solicited to perform in non-church related activities by various individuals, private corporations and public organizations. It was around this period when the group acquired the nickname Chopa.

Chopa started holding annual fundraising concerts in 1995 to enable them to embark on several outreach programs in different regions of the Philippines. Through the support of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (Philippines) (NCCA), the choir has done much to benefit churches, communities, and charities through their outreach programs. The concerts also provided a chance to showcase the choir. The uniqueness of their repertoire is not simply based on the variety of music they perform (sacred, classical, pop, folk, foreign, madrigals). The choir prides itself with its original a cappella compositions and arrangements by its resident arrangers: Arnold Zamora, Frederick de Santos, Chito Tapnio, Jesus Carlo Merino and Dale Francisco. Chopa also has an exceptional talent in the form of Jasmin Loremas. Although not a music major, her ability to achieve perfect pitch made her the choir’s human tuning fork, allowing Chopa to start their a cappella performance in the correct tones without the aid of an instrument like a piano or traditional tuning fork. In 1998, Chopa once again proved their choral excellence as they won two awards, the Best Performance in Choice Piece and the Grand Prize, at the Awit Para sa Bayan Centennial Choral Competition.

By 1999, as Chopa continued to excel in local choral contests such as the University of the Philippines, Los Baños (UPLB) Chorale Competition, and I Concurso Coral de Ateneo, the group started venturing into two new projects: recording and international outreach. Chopa released two albums: Blessed Be God, A Cappella, a choral collection of liturgical music, and the Joy of Christmas, a released in the United States. Chopa also successfully completed three outreach programs in the USA between 1999-2001. A third album, Chorus Paulinus (SLO), featuring their live performance at the Performing Arts in San Luis Obispo, California, was released in 2001. They also worked on several projects with well known artists such as Ryan Cayabyab, Pops Fernandez, Regine Velasquez, Cocoy Laurel, and Ogie Alcasid as well as production giants ABS-CBN, GMA, and Studio 23. As the group marked its tenth anniversary in 2002, several of its members in the past decade had already retired, although they continue to value the years of training they have had with the group. Chopa was challenged with a frequently changing membership - not an easy task for the group as they constantly have to deal with different sets of singers.

2003 – present: New membership, same goals

With Arnold Zamora based in the USA, the task of upholding the choir’s vision depends mainly on the leadership of Fred de Santos, who is also associated with San Miguel Master Chorale or SMMC. The choir preserves their regular church commitment at the Parish of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary in West Triangle, Quezon City, as well as the Shrine of the Our Lady of Queen of Peace along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) corner Ortigas Avenue, Pasig City. Even though with a relatively new group of singers, they did well in their first competition, placing first runner up at the 1st Wedding Expo Philippines Choir Competition in 2003. The pursuit of excellence still continues.

In the meantime, in other countries, several Chopa alumni continue to sing in groups or as solo performers, like Fortunato Moran <ref> Gavin Phipps.So here it is merry Christmas, everybody's having fun Taipe Times December 2, 2005. </ref> and Myla Soliman, <ref> Ryan Chartrand.'Tribute' concert celebrates both Mustang Daily:California Polytechnic State University May 1, 2006. </ref>


Further information: Arnold Zamora

Arnold Zamora (born February 10, 1961) is a Filipino musician from Tagbilaran City, Bohol, Philippines who has carved for himself a name in the national music industry as a singer, composer, arranger and conductor. As a seminarian at the UST Central seminary, he founded the Psalterion Choir. At the University of the Philippines, he joined the Philippine Madrigal Singers or MADZ and is the founder of the Chorus Paulinus. <ref name="Chopa">Chorus Paulinus at Retrieved 21 January, 2007.</ref> He is also the founder and music director of the Singing Priests of Tagbilaran.<ref name="spot">Singing Priests of Tagbilaran Retrieved 25 January, 2007. </ref>

He currently works for the Archdiocese of San Francisco in San Francisco, California, USA.<ref>Office of Religious Education & Youth Ministry San Francisco Parishes </ref> <ref>Reverend Arnold Zamora at Retrieved 21 January, 2007. </ref>


CD cover of Chorus Paulinus
CD cover of Blessed Be God, A Cappella of the Chorus Paulinus
Book cover of Blessed Be God, A Cappella of the Chorus Paulinus
music notation of "Written In the Sand"


Album information
Chorus Paulinus (SLO) (2001)
  • Released: 2001 Performing Arts Center, San Luis Obispo, CA, (United States)
  • Chart positions:
  • RIAA certification:
  • P.I. Sales:
  • Worldwide sales:
  • Singles:
  • Disc 1
    • "Anima Christi" - Ryan Cayabyab (6:50)
    • "O Magnum Mysterium" - Morten Lauridsen (6:27)
    • "Lead, Me Lord" - Gerry Paraiso, arranged by Robert Delgado
    • "The Battle of Jericho" - arranged by M. Hogan
    • "La Guerre" - C. Janequin (5:58)
    • "Con Te Partiro" - F. Sartori/arranged by Chito Tapnio (4:33)
    • "Duerme Negrito" - A. Yupanqui/arranged by E. Sole (3:30)
    • "Shenandoah" - arranged J. Erb (4:17)
    • "Makendonska Humoreska" - arranged by Todor Skalovski (3:15)
  • Disc 2
    • "Pobreng Alindahaw" - arranged by T. Regalario (2:51)
    • "Iyo Kailan Pa Man" - A. Pena /arranged by R. Federizon (4:26)
    • "Beh! Buti Nga" - arranged by A. Nepomuceno (2:02)
    • "Ikaw" - George Canseco/Louie Ocampo/arranged by Arnold Zamora (5:16)
    • "Paraiso" - Ryan Cayabyab/arranged by JC Merino (4:03)
    • "With You" - S. Schwartz/arranged Fred de Santos (3:28)
    • "Man in the Mirror" - Michael Jackson/arranged by Chito Tapnio(4:07)
    • "I Believe I Can Fly" - R.Kelley/arranged by Chito Tapnio (5:06)
    • "'70's Medley" - arranged by Dale Francisco (8:14)
    • "Let It Be" - John Lennon/arranged by Ryan Cayabyab (5:00)
    • "Do That To Me" - arranged by Chito Tapnio/Arnold Zamora (5:02)
    • "Cat's Meow" - G. Rossini (4:28)
  • Recorded by: Roger M. Phillip
  • Mastered by: Mike Leahy
  • Produced by: Mike Soliman
Blessed Be God, A Cappella
  • Released: 1999, Philippines
  • Chart positions:
  • RIAA certification:
  • P.I. Sales:
  • Worldwide sales:
  • Singles:
    • "I Will Sing Forever" - Music by Manuel Francisco
    • "Prayer for Generosity" - Music by Manuel Francisco
    • "Take and Receive" - Music by Manuel Francisco
    • "Anima Christi" - Music by Jandi Arboleda
    • "Tell the World" - Music and lyrics by Trina Belamide
    • "One More Gift" - Music by Manuel Francisco
    • "Blessed be God"
    • "Light of a Million Mornings" - Music and Lyrics by Mark Germeil and Mark Hayes
    • "Great Jubilee" - Music and Lyrics by Carlo Magno S. Marcelo
Joy of Christmas
  • Released: 1999, USA
  • Chart positions:
  • RIAA certification:
  • P.I. Sales:
  • Worldwide sales:
  • Singles:
    • "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" - Chorus Paulinus, Traditional, Word Music, a division of Word, Inc.,
    • "A Christmas Prayer" - Chorus Paulinus (Joan Risso, DartPro), Vocal arrangement: Arnold Zamora, Instrumental Arrangement: Arnold Zamora and John Johnson
    • "It's Christmas Time" - Chorus Paulinus (Young and Stillman) Dart Pro Music, Arranged by Arnold Zamora and Frederick de Santos
    • "Christmas Is My Favorite Time of the Year" - Chorus Paulinus (Joan Risso) Dart Pro Music Vocal arrangement: Arnold Zamora, Instrumental arrangement: John Johnson, Larry Santiago and Arnold Zamora
    • "Jingle Bells (Calypso)" - Chorus Paulinus (Pierpont)
    • "Holy Child of Love" (Joan Risso) Dart Pro Music, Arranged by Arnold Zamora
    • "Silent Night" - Fr. Floro Arcamo & Chorus Paulinus, (Joan Risso), DartPro Music, Arranged by Arnold Zamora
    • "Carol of the Bells" - Chorus Paulinus, (Leontovich/Wilhousky) Carl Fisher, Inc.
    • "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" - Daniel Santiago, Saxophone (Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane/EMI Feist Catalog Inc, Arrangement and Instrumentation: Arnold Zamora
    • "Be My Santa Claus" - Fr. Melchisedech "Edick" Monreal (Arnold Zamora) DartPro Music, Drums: Brandon Cadigan
    • "Christmas in San Francisco" - Fr. Floro Arcamo & Singing Priests of San Francisco (Bob and Dessa Zuckerman) DartPro Music, Instrumentation: Larry Santiago
    • "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" - Chorus Paulinus, Traditional
Executive Producers: Delia Panelo and Tessie Madrinan
Engineered by Larry Santiago at J Lab Studios, San Francisco, CA, USA
Copyright © 1999 DartPro Records

Notes on selected pieces

  • "Anima Christi", was dedicated by arranger Ryan Cayabyab to Arnold Zamora and Chorus Paulinus. Its premiere performance was made by Chopa in April 2000 at the Philam Life Theater. The arrangement (performed by SMMC) is part of Ryan’s Sacred Works CD which won best religious album in 2004 Catholic Mass Media Awards.
  • "Minsan Lang Kitang Iibigin", arranged by Arnold Zamora, was originally written for Chorus Paulinus. Several Filipino choirs have used the arrangement for their own performances all over the world.
  • Original pop arrangements of Chito Tapnio strictly for Chorus Paulinus include "I Believe I Can Fly”, “Man in the Mirror”, “Do that To Me One More Time”, “Killing Me Softly”. These songs featured soloists Fortune Moran, Eli Ciasico (rapper with matching choreography), and Michelle David-Tapnio.
  • “Paraiso”, choral arrangement by JC Merino featured solo parts specifically for the six Chopa ladies that have dedicated the most number of years to the group.
  • Following the success of Beatles medley and 80s medley arranged by Arnold Zamora, member Dale Francisco arranged 70s Medley. These pop medleys are often most requested from the group during their international tours.
  • “Tayo’y Mga Pinoy” arranged by Eudenice Palaruan was the piece that made Chopa win as Best Choice Piece performance during the 1998 choral competition. Mr. Palaruan himself was present as one of the judges and praised the group for its excellent interpretation of his very difficult piece.
  • "Pasko A Cappella Medley", Christmas medley arranged by Ryan Cayabyab has so far been performed only by Chopa.
  • "Be With Me" was composed and arranged by Arnold Zamora, for the Chito-Michee Tapnio Wedding, Chicago, Illinois, USA, sung by Chorus Paulinus, on their first international reunion with attendance from the Philippines, France, and from all over U.S.


  • 1993 - National Chorale Competition (sponsored by Caritas Manila and DTI), Grand Prize winner
  • 1998 - Awit Para sa Bayan (Centennial Choral Competition), Best Choice Piece and Grand Prize winner
  • 1999 - I Concurso Coral de Ateneo, Best Mixed Choir
  • 1999 - UP Los Banos Choral Competition, Grand Prize Winner
  • 2003 - 1st Wedding Expo Philippines Choir Competition, 1st Runner-up <ref>1st Wedding Expo Philippines Choir Competition Retrieved 21 January, 2007. </ref>

Major Concerts

  • March 1995 - Into the Light, UP Abelardo Hall
  • April 1996 - LAKAT (Lakbay Abot Kanta), CCP Little Theatre
  • March 1997 - The Journey, PhilamLife Theatre
  • December 1997 - An Evening with Chorus Paulinus, Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish
  • November 1998 - In Harmony, PCIB Tower II
  • April 1999 - Simply Chorus Paulinus (an anniversary concert), CCP Little Theater
  • April 2000 - Chorus Paulinus VIII, PhilamLife Theater
  • December 2000 - An Evening with Chorus Paulinus, Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish
  • April 2001 - CP@Nine, PCIB Tower I Theater
  • November 2002 - Chorus Paulinus...Ten Years After, Philamlife Theater
  • November 2003 - Himig Chorus Paulinus, Philamlife Theater

Outreach Programs

  • May 1995 - Into the Light, Key Cities of Bohol and Cebu
  • May 1996 - LAKAT (CCP Outreach), Visayas Tour
  • May 1997 - LAWIG (CCP Outreach), Mindanao Tour
  • April 1998 - In Harmony, Bohol Tour
  • May 1999 - U.S. Tour
  • May 2000 - Chorus Paulinus VIII, U.S. Tour
  • May 2001 - CP @ Nine, U.S. Tour

Music samples