Posted by: calloftheandes | December 26, 2011

Concerts in Quito Present Faith in Song and Drama

Photo credits: Wesley Dean and Martin Harrison
The trombone goes silent as the large screen video fades to black, only to have a lone trumpeter step into the spotlight, taking up “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” where the recorded audio left off. For the moment, Roberto Rojas has set aside conducting the Coro Vozandes(Vozandes Choir) to perform before an audience in the elegant National Sucre Theater in Quito, Ecuador.

Roberto Rojas

Soon after putting down his trumpet, Rojas was back to directing the choir and its accompanying “big band” once again during a weekend of concerts sponsored by Radio Station HCJB. More than 4,000 people attended the six performances Friday-Sunday, Dec. 2-4, in a celebration of two anniversaries.

In addition to commemorating the founding of Quito in 1534, the concerts featured a video. Brief and fast-paced, it summarized HCJB Global’s eight decades of ministry, culminating in a trombone duet of the mission’s signature hymn, celebrating God’s eternal faithfulness. The radio station began broadcasts on Christmas Day, 1931.

Peruvian born, Rojas has been in music ministry in Ecuador for decades. Seventy voices, mostly of Ecuadorian singers, made up his choir. The accompanying orchestra consisted of Canadians, Americans and Ecuadorians. A children’s choir of students from the Conservatorio Superior Nacional de Música and the Alliance Academy International included little Lottie Harrison whose British parents serve with HCJB Global.

Beginning with Himno a Quito (Homage to Quito), each concert saluted the Ecuadorian capital with several traditional songs with audience participation. One song, Mosaico Cubano (Cuban Mosaic), offered a Caribbean rhythm while the other songs represented musical representations from the Andean highlands.

Master of Ceremonies Mauricio Patiño provided continuity between the musical numbers. He also humored an onstage companion, Don Octogeranio Flores, an oversize jack-in-the-box capable of imitating the sounds of many Latin American accents.

Midway through the concert, drama took center stage in a black-lighted environment. The actors and dancers in flamboyantly colored costumes recreated the Pinocchio story to both entertain and evangelize, challenging people to consider God’s offer to give them new hearts.

After that, the Coro Vozandes presented eight villancicos (Christmas carols) plus a mosaic of traditional Ecuadorian folkloric songs that Rojas had arranged. A children’s choir performed one of the song segments, Cholito Jesús. The 2½-hour concerts continued a tradition first established by Radio Station HCJB in 1965 to thank and honor the station’s host city of Quito.

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