One enchanted evening

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Saturday, June 8, 2013

"MUSIC has to be recognized as an agent of social development, in the highest sense because it transmits the highest values - solidarity, harmony, mutual compassion. And it has the ability to unite an entire community, and to express sublime feelings.” – Jose Antonio Abreu, "National Network of Youth and Children's Orchestras of Venezuela"

It was one, last of June 5, 2013 at the Social Hall of the Provincial Capitol Building. The room was filled with audiences who share one love---music. The stage was filled with young people, focusing on their music sheets, and holding different kinds of string and wind instruments. The choir was at the backstage, ready for their number. Then the baton of the guest violinist and conductor moved. Handel’s Concerto Grosso in A minor Op.6 no. 4. Spell-bound magic filled our hearts and minds.

“A Musical Rendezvous with the Youth”, a performance of the participants of the International Youth Music Camp Fest 2013 ennobled our hearts and souls that evening. With the strong support from the Negros Cultural Foundation, Negros Museum, Central Philippine Adventist College, Andrews University, Michigan, USA and the Province of Negros Occidental, the concert presented the musical prowess of young, and wonderful Music Camp participants from Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Columbia, Venezuela & Philippines, including Negrense artists.


Music Camp? Yes, there was one and it was already the 4th one held at Central Philippines Adventist College at Barangay Alegria ,Murcia, Negros Occidental , last May 19 to June 5, 2013. Holistic, this is the noteworthy quality of the camp which seeks to develop the whole person of the young musicians through health education, character formation, life-changing devotionals, out-reach programs and intensive musical lessons for 6 to 8 hours daily. The latter focuses more on playing in an orchestra, instrumental ensemble and choral singing. No wonder then why the young people’s performance during the musical rendezvous was excellent!

The classical repertoire of the night which mesmerized and left us glued to our seats included the following selections: George Fredrich Handel’s “Concerto Grosso in A minor Op. 6 No.4”, “Thine is the Glory” ,and “Hallelujah Chorus from ‘The Messiah’ ”; Antonio Vivaldi’s “Concerto in D Major Op. 3 No. 9”; Peter Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade in C for String Orchestra Op.48”; Ludwig Van Beethoven’s “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee”, and excerpts from Felix Mendelssohn’s “Elijah Oratorio Op. 70”.

Sebastian Ayala Serrano, of the Handbell Choir did a wonderful direction of the superbly magical performance of the Camp and Selected Ringers of the bells for Barbara Kinyon’s “A Joyful Ring” and Jeffrey Vanderwende’s arrangement of the “Lenten Serenade”. Enchanting indeed was the music of the bells! Tenor Winner Silvestre was a stand out with his renditions of “Ye, People, Rend Your Hearts” and “If With all Your Hearts Ye Truly Seek Me”. Clavitha Arapoc’s alto voice was poignantly melodious with her performance of “O Rest in the Lord”.

Venezuelan -born Dr. Claudio Gonzales, guest violinist and conductor of the Music Camp Orchestra for four years, is the passionate musician who graciously and willingly shared his gifts of person, time and talent with the music campers. With his master’s degree in violin performance and his doctorate degree in orchestral conducting, the genial faculty member and director of orchestral studies at Andrews University at Michigan University was my very willing interviewee after the concert. Dr. Gonzales’ fervent love for music and his ardent desire to share this with the kids is so heartwarming. With his works as a co-founder of El Sistema or popularly known as "National Network of Youth and Children's Orchestras of Venezuela", Dr. Gonzales hopes to bring more children, especially from the poor economic sector, to learn, love and appreciate music. His sincere liking of the concert venue made him perform at the Social Hall of the Provincial Capitol Building for the second time. And with the grace from God, Dr. Gonzales will continue working on his ministry, as he calls his passion for music.

Dr. Heidi Cerna, the Music Camp Director and the head of the Music Department of Central Philippine Adventist College played the electric organ together with the ensemble during the musicale.

Charmed. Enamored. Spell-bound. I was while listening and watching the young people played the lutes, blew the pipes, ring the hand bells, and sing their songs. I was while looking at my fellow audiences who were attentively listening to the classical tunes. I was while talking with the unassuming and the gracious guest conductor Dr. Claudio Gonzales.

Impressed was I with the International Youth Music Camp program of the Central Philippines Adventist College in partnership with Andrews University, Michigan, USA. And thankful to the wonderful people and entities (Negros Cultural Foundation, Inc., Negros Museum and the Province of Negros Occidental) who extended wholehearted support to make the show possible. They, and the many more music enthusiasts not personally mentioned here, made my June 5, 2013 evening an enchanted one.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on June 08, 2013.


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