In December 2004, a group of seven young Filipino expatriates(five founding members and two others), mostly “bagong salta” (Filipino term for newly arrived) in Dubai, came together for a common love of music. Influenced by their background on choral singing, they felt the need to unite a circle of choristers who would serve the St. Mary’s Parish Church through disciplined singing and inspired worship for the Lord through the rigors of music.
The seven singers, having known each other for only a few months, had to overcome struggles of accepting personality differences, doubts, uncertainty and controversy even. Recognizing this stage as an inevitable element of the process, the bond of the seven individuals were blessed and strengthened with mature understanding, openness, and strong focus on the fervor to sing and to serve. Imbued with the spirit of discernment and passion for music, the group became docile to embrace uncertainty with humility and drive. They “watched and prayed” as God’s plan gradually unfolded. Dancing with God’s enigmatic but elaborate tune, the steps they took were unhurried and careful. The mix was just right! They moved on . . .
During one of the group’s early informal meetings, in a cramped partitioned government flat somewhere in Karama, they initiated to determine the group’s identity – it’s name. The scenario was typical to that of the earliest Christian history in the bible when elders gathered together around a newly born child and gave a name most appropriate, timely, and one which will determine its future. The considerations were three dimensional, namely, religious, cultural, and global. The group was baptized with the name Christian Voices.
Indications of God’s guidance and presence were felt all along the path the Christian voices took. Awareness became their armour and spontaneous communal prayer was both their weapon and shield. They sought the intercession of St. Cecilia, the patroness of music because like her, the seven voices heard God’s soothing music in their hearts.
Initiation of fire. On March 11, 2005, the songs of the Christian Voices resounded with thrill and joy in all the corners of the St. Mary’ Church. The seven-voices choir of Jun (as conductor too!), Marvin, Bubut, Jeager, Kay, Elsie, and Sharon sang with power an inspiration. That day was filled with God’s grace and compassion because it was the very day they had been waiting for. Although still plagued with uncertainty, the Christian Voices offered their best for their common purpose in the Holy Eucharist. At the end of the celebration, God’s comforting clap of hands resonated and touched the hearts of the CV and of those who listened and worshipped.
Transition to Dubai Vocal Ensemble. The groups adaptive country is an Islamic Country, the United Arab Emirates, since engagements outside the church would require the group to drop any reference to Christianity, the group decided to use a dual name that would be used outside St. Mary’s Church. Dubai Vocal Ensemble (DVE) has been chosen as it represents the groups ideals to spread the awareness of Choral Music in the UAE inside and outside the Christendom. Today, the group is 30-member strong and continues to keep the fire burning that is Choral Music.