Baguio folk pool resources to get ‘Bach vs Beatles’ concert treat | Inquirer News

Baguio folk pool resources to get ‘Bach vs Beatles’ concert treat

THE POLYPHONIC sound of Bach in the Brandenburg concertos.  ANNA LEAH SARABIA/CONTRIBUTOR

THE POLYPHONIC sound of Bach in the Brandenburg concertos. ANNA LEAH SARABIA/CONTRIBUTOR

THE MANILA Symphony Orchestra (MSO) had a rousing reception for its matinee and evening concerts on April 25 in Baguio City, which used to host the MSO during the summers of the 1930s.

The country’s oldest orchestra received a standing ovation in the sold-out dinner concert at Hill Station in Casa Vallejo, the city’s oldest building.


“Bach vs The Beatles” featured three concertos by Bach and Beatles favorites arranged in Baroque style, among them, “Lady Madonna,” “Michelle,” “A Hard Day’s Night.” The venue printed concert-only tickets to accommodate the demand from locals who wanted to watch. They sat on the grand staircase linking the restaurant and hotel.


The Saturday night bout opened the summer season of “Classics at the Hill” at Hill Station. The proposal for a historic venue to mount concerts came from the Cultural Arts Events Organizers (CAEO) and Baguio music lovers.

Earlier on April 25, the MSO staged “Symphonies and Soundtracks” at the Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary (MES). The reception was ecstatic from young and old alike with a movement from the symphonies of Mozart, Lalo, Haydn and Beethoven.

The second part included music from the movies Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Cinema Paradiso, The Mission, Harry Potter, Superman, and TV series like Game of Thrones and Mission Impossible.

For the matinee at the courtyard of MES, a donor gave a giant parachute on learning that the audience would sit under the sun and only had hats and umbrellas to protect them.

Connect humans to nature

In her remarks before the matinee began, Maryknoll Sister Nora Maulawin said classical music connects humans to nature and allows people a deeper understanding of what life has to offer. “It gives us


extra energy to face life amid pollution and environmental tragedy,” she said.

Sister Perla Macapinlac, creation specialist at the ICM House of Prayer, where the MSO girls were housed, described her interaction with them: “Science tells us that the universe began 13.7 billion years ago with the Big Bang. Everything that exists came out of that. Music was there in the beginning, in the clashing of stars, the forms that came out—dinosaurs that roared, birds that tweeted, falling rain.”

She said, “While I told them about this, they mimicked the sounds of rain, birds, wind. It took the coming of humans with our capacities for self-reflection and creativity to bring these sounds together and make beautiful music. That, too, is part of God’s creation. As musicians, their role is to partner with God in making sounds more beautiful, their work a part of the music of the universe.”


During the matinee, the children of Karlo Altomonte, theater actor-environmentalist, passed hats around to the audience. The collection of P14,196.50 all went to the MES to deduct expenses for the MSO musicians’ and crew’s board and lodging and help raise funds for an MES chapel.

To make the concerts and free masterclass with University of Baguio (UB) music students happen, Genesis Transport Services lent two buses free to ferry the MSO musicians, crew and instruments from Manila and back.

Baguio Writers Group’s Jenny Cariño and Karen Hizola volunteered to tap jeepney drivers Ricky Diego and Jerry Dulatre for the MSO’s venue transfers. Big buses aren’t allowed on city streets where road works and reroutings are ongoing. The manongs, cultural workers themselves, watched, smiled throughout MSO’s technical rehearsal and evening performance.

UP Baguio graduate student Faye Marino assisted the city tour during the MSO’s only free day before a packed Saturday. In a three-jeep convoy, she brought MSO members (some were first-time visitors) to Camp John Hay’s less congested Historical Core.

They ended the afternoon at Café by the Ruins Dua in time for “Lorem Ipsum,” a two-person photo exhibit featuring the works of Feliz Perez and Gilbert Ebba.

Gina Medina Perez, MSO concertmaster, played “Habanera Filipina,” a gypsy air, to honor the artists. MSO violinist Ernesto Vallejo composed this. He was a World War II casualty along with his family.


1st exposure to Western music

Jeffrey Solares, MSO executive director-concert annotator, said early MSO concerts in Baguio in the 1930s could have been the indigenous Ibaloy’s first exposure to Western music. “We got stories that conductor Herbert Zipper’s wife, Trudl, got nervous when the Ibaloy, in g-strings and holding spears, approached the musicians,” he said.

When Zipper took over the MSO, he considered Baguio a place for staging concerts like the famous Salzburg festival in Austria. He died at 92 in 1997 in California, his life the subject of the Oscar-nominated documentary Never Give Up. The other partners are Manila Chamber Orchestra Foundation, ICM House of Prayer, MES, UB and the Bautista family, Benguet Electric Cooperative, Don Henrico’s, Iggy’s Inn, Bu-boat Beach Resort, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.

MSO’s visit cleared the way for the next Hill Station event on May 24: Viva Voce’s chamber music version of Puccini’s La Boheme with a Baguio setting instead of the Latin Quarter in Paris.

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As beneficiary of the “Bach vs Beatles” faceoff, the BWG will cohost with UP Baguio on May 18 the citywide conference “Aspulan,” an Ibaloy term to mean “gathering place.” The conference will gather the city’s literary writers, journalists, public school teachers and students of literature and journalism. With a report from Elizabeth Lolarga, Contributor

TAGS: Bach, Beatles, Music, News, Regions

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