Rondalla’s finale concert shines up the new City Hall more exquisite

Feb 17-23,2011

The new City Hall of Tagum City shone the more exquisite, sophisticated and modern as the audience, a mix of the city’s creme dela creme of both the rich and trendy and yano hoi polois, were ecstatically carried away by unified rondalla music of strings plucked by over 300 performers from 15 countries in finale concert to close the great 3rd International Rondalla-Cuerdas sa Pagkakaysa Festival.

The rondalla epic that the city hosted and well accomodated drew to close at the new City Halls’s Atrium activity hall past 7 in the evening Friday, Feb. 20 with the excellent playing of three musical pieces, “Isahan sa Pagkakaysa”, “Vision of Unity” and “Katubo” by the festival’s performers of various colors and races under the baton of the country’s known maestro conductors Josefino Chito Toledo and Dr. Ramon P. Santos.

When their three-piece performance ended, the audience led by Tagum City Mayor Rey Uy and his better half Alma Uy, who is the chair of the city’s tourism council which led the festival preparation, gave a strong applause and standing ovation as paper confettis rained from above the Atrium in great acclaim to the first-of-its kind, historic and grand rondalla performance that capped the musical season of the proud City of Palms.

As confettis continued to rain while performers smiled and reciprocated vows to the audience, Alex Cortes, stage director of the finale concert, had but only let out words, “It’s amazing!” he enthused in an interview with the Valley & City Chronicle.
He is also the vice president of the Dulaang UP and a national officer of the National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCCA).

“We sent the three pieces to them in advance and had only rehearsed here for three times. It’s really amazing that they performed as one,” he said.

He said that the ensemble were composed of perfoming groups from 15 countries and 25 delegations from different regions. Also seen onstage in just unified rondalla ensemble were six performers from indigenous people plucking their native musical instruments kudyapi and kudlong whose sound well blended with the other traditional rondalla musical instruments- bandurria, octavina, mandola, guitarra and bajo de unas.

It is what the Mayor Uy stressed time and again and during the festival’s opening that musical notes are universal and the same no matter wherever you are in what part of the world, “music bridges understanding of different peoples, and it’s really our honor and pride to host the international rondalla festival.”

The first piece which had a Beatles medley and the second piece, “Isahan sa Pagkakaysa” played by the ensemble were under the baton of conductor Josefino Chito Toledo.

“Isahan sa Pagkakaysa” was actually a piece commissioned for the 1st International Rondalla in Naga City in 2004 and was played in the closing concerts of the 1st and 2nd festivals.

The last piece “Katubo”, a medley of Visayan folk songs, was played under the baton of Dr. Ramon P. Santos.

City Tourism Council chair and the co-festival director Ms. Alma Uy said that the Cuerdas Festival has indeed demonstrated its strings of unity to promote peace, friendship and solidarity of people.

“We’re engaged in peace-building through music, and the Cuerdas sa Pagkakaysa, the strings of unity is for peace in Mindanao,” she said.

Both the city mayor and his better half Alma were thankful for the confidence and recognition of the NCCA along with the Musicological Society of the Philippines (MSP) and the University of the Philippines College of Music, the rondalla fest movers, as Tagum City has been chosen as the venue of the International Dance Festival April next year. This came after Cuerdas national officials felt the full support and thrust of the city government to musical and cultural endeavors as shown in the just concluded great rondalla festival within the city’s yearly Musikahan sa Tagum, which ended Sunday.

Dr. Santos expressed his gratitude to the city government and the City Tourism Council for the overflowing hospitality and good accommodation the participants received during the entire duration of the historic festival.

“More best things are yet to come for the city,” Mayor Uy said in separate interview. (cha monforte)

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