Silay Rondalla performs at CCP

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By Ver F. Pacete

As I See It

Saturday, February 22, 2014

THE Kabataang Silay Rondalla Ensemble is not only the “ambassadors of culture” of Silay City but also of Negros Occidental. The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) through the Musicological Society of the Philippines (MSP) with the support of UP Center for Ethnomusicology (UPCE) have screened around 80 rondalla groups in the Philippines.

Only seven groups were qualified to perform at the “Kuerdas ng Pagkakaisa (String of Unity): Philippine Rondalla Festival” at the Cultural Center of the Philippines last February 12 to 16. This served also as the launching event of “Cuerdas Global: 4th International Rondalla/Plucked String Festival” which will be sponsored this year by Taiwan or Singapore.

The participants are Kabataang Silay Rondalla Ensemble, Celso Espejo Rondalla (Las Piñas City), Dipolog Community Rondalla (Dipolog City), Lucban Pahiyas Community Rondalla (Lucban, Quezon), UP Rondalla (Diliman, Quezon City), Harmonya: The String Ensemble of UPCB (Los Baños, Laguna), and Maco Heights Central Elementary School (Compostela Valley).


Four foreign groups joined the festival – NTNU Chinese Plucked Instruments Ensemble (Taipei, Taiwan), Fu-Shing Junior High School Plucked String Band (Yilan Taiwan), Sundanese Kachapi Ensemble (Indonesia), and Phong Nguyen Ensemble (Vietnam).

All performances were held at the Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino of the CCP. Spearheading the events are Hon. Felipe de Leon Jr., chairman of the National Commission for the Culture and Arts; Raul Sunico, CCP president; and Dr. Ramon Santos, festival director (also president of the Musicological Society of the Philippines and executive director of UP Center for Ethnomusicology).

Kabataang Silay Rondalla Ensemble was organized in 1994 through the initiative of Mayor Edwin Velez and his culturally-inclined wife, Ruby.

The Silay rondalla serves as effective instrument for tourism promotions and youth development and earned the title “Young Cultural Ambassadors of Negros Occidental” and its number one fan is Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. Its members have traveled extensively and actively participated in local, national and international festivals. It represented the Philippines in the Second Asian Children’s Folklore Festival in Guangdong, China and in Aberdeen International Youth Festival in Scotland.

In 2011, Kabataang Silay Rondalla Ensemble represented Negros Occidental in the Third International Rondalla Festival in Tagum City, Davao del Norte. In the past, it was a national champion for high school rondalla division and was adjudged “Best Over-All Performances” in the 2002 National Music Competition for Young Artists. In 2012, two members got second and fourth places in the hotly contested Solo Rondalla Instrument Competition-High School Category held in Cebu City. Silay Rondalla is under the baton of Rondalla Master Jegger Anjao.

CCP audience was tongue-tied to see and hear how the Silaynons interpreted the musical pieces prepared for the music elite audience.

“Winter,” arranged by Antonio Vivaldi, and Jegger Anjao, is a 1723 sonnets for concertos telling about the icy wind of winter, the comfort of warmth by the fireside, and also describes beauty and delight.

“Ampalaya Overture” was composed by Michael Dapap, the founding director of the “Iskwelahang Pilipino Rondalla in Boston. “Katubo” is a composition by Dr. Ramon Santos to evoke unity among the different cultural communities in the Philippines.

“Phantom of the Opera,” composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and arranged by Jegger Anjao. It was presented in a medley and hardly touched the “phantom” fans. “William Tell Overture” is by Gioachino Rossini (his last opera).

It is popularized by the TV show, “The Lone Ranger.” “Hagikhikan” is a creation of Mary Katherine Trangco. This was performed in the First International Rondalla Festival Closing Ceremony. The last delicacy is “Pirates of the Caribbean” of Klaus Badelt Arranger by Jegger Anjao. The Rondalla Festival audience identifies themselves with Jack Sparrow, Will Turner, and Elizabeth Swan.

The Silay delegation is composed of Mayor Jose Montelibano, Councilor Neil Solomon Locsin, Cultural Affairs Officer Achilles Corteza and yours truly (to officially promote music tourism as part of National Arts Month Celebration for February.) Hugyaw Silay president Marissa Montelibano and Executive Assistant Susan Velez joined the group using their own resources.

Silaynons are at CCP to prove that music is the harmonious voice of creation. It washes from the soul the dust of sorrow. It unites all minds and connects all hearts to understand what mankind feels.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on February 22, 2014.


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