Magnifico is award-winning choir born at Okkodo High - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Magnifico is award-winning choir born at Okkodo High

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We're another day closer to the season premier of "Rise" on NBC. From the producers of Hamilton and Friday Night Lights, "Rise" is a heartening new musical drama - inspired by a true story - about finding inspiration in unexpected places. To promote the upcoming series, we sit down with the public school performing arts teachers, the talents, and the trailblazers here at home.

Now we catchup with the award-winning choir, Magnifico - straight out of Dededo's Okkodo High School.

Their first few chords will give you the chills. In this class, you don't learn math, science, or English. You learn how to feel. Member Jomari Talento said, "Here I feel like I can be more of myself because we sing; other classes, doing math, I don't feel much emotion, but I hate this. But here, I think these guys are really good at singing. I want to be better."

You also learn some other skills that will prove useful in the workforce. Another member, Liana Torres, said, "Discipline, communication, and most especially time management - there are a lot of skills that we learn in this class that we won't learn in other classes."

For Okkodo High School seniors Liana and Jomari, choir is their favorite part of their school day. "If they were to take away these programs in our schools, then how else are we supposed to express ourselves; there's still sports, but everyone is different. In this class, and in these music programs, we're able to connect with each other," said Liana.

Though the school has had a choir program for the past four years, Magnifico was established just a year and a half ago, and already taking home top honors at the Tumon Bay Music Festival.

A gold-award behind them, Liana and Jomari say it continues to push them to be better. "When we were in beginning choir, it was more like we would sing, but no one really took it seriously, but to have him choose indivudals that he knew were going to be dedicated enough and determined to get what we wanted to sound like, and we were all singing from the heart. It was more rewarding," they said.

The 50-member group is directed by a proud public school product.

Alfredo Tindugan is no stranger to the local music scene, and while he hasn't given up on his dreams of super stardom, teaching choir has proven more fulfilling. "I didn't think it was for me...I wanted to be out there. As an entertainer, I want to be a singer I want to be a famous singer, but later on when I started singing, I noticed, this is more meaningful - not only are you feeling better yourself, but you know you're passing it onto your students," he said. "Music has changed and shaped me. Music is what I use to get out of the problems. Right now we have a lot of stresses in our lives. And teaching is a very stressful thing to do. But, when I go to this classroom and I see my students and they're singing and they're enjoying it and that is enough for me to stay in this field."

And this is only the beginning.

The season premier for RISE airs on Wednesday, March 14th at 9 p.m. on KUAM TV8 and at 8 p.m. every Wednesday after.

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