The Kabataang Silay Rondalla Ensemble Sojourn in Singapore
It was a feat for Silay City and the entire Filipino nation as audience numbering around 4,000 hurled appreciation and applause to the Kabataang Silay Rondalla Ensemble (KSE) and Singapore’s Marsiling Chinese Orchestra (MCO) joint performance last May 22, 2015 in a show dubbed “Love Across the Ocean II” at the awesome Singapore Star Performing Arts Center (Star Theatre). This was the second “Love Across the Ocean” performance as the first was MCO’s collaborative perfor-mance with Indonesia’s Youth Ang-klung Orchestra.
SILAY CITY Mayor Jose L. Montelibano, Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Antonio Morales, Rondalla Master Jegger Anjao, MCO Conductor Low Cher Yong and Singaporean officials in a group photo with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.*
Kabataang Silay Rondalla Ensemble’s trip is through the efforts of the Philippines National Commission on Culture and Arts (NCCA) and a portion of the joint performance is posted online which extended viewership of musical talents beyond the territory of Singapore. Online media was able to capture its powerful rendition of Bahay Kubo; The Flight of the Bumblebee; Cuerdas II Visayan Medley – with dance interpretation by Kultura Performance Pte. Ltd. dancers led by Ms. Celia Diaz-Defato; Let It Go from the Walt Disney movie “Frozen”; a selection from the Pirates of the Caribbean sound track and the National Day Parade’s “Home”, with vocals by Philippine soprano Stefanie Quintin.
The Kabataang Silay Rondalla Ensemble together with Singapore’s Marsiling Chinese Orchestra during the welcome reception hosted by Minister of Education MP Hawazi Daipi.*
The Marsiling Chinese Orchestra on the other hand played Singapore’s National Day Parade (NDP) Medley, a compilation of NDP songs from 1984 to 2014; La Reine de Saba (Orchestra); Liang Wen Fu Medley; and the popular Filipino song, “Dahil Sa Yo”, with vocal rendition by Miss Nur Fateha Binte Muhamad.
Then, the two groups jointly performed rendition of the Spanish Medley (La Bamba, Sway and Quizas) and Mother’s Love Medley (Anak, Ibu and Mama Hao) and encore pieces “Hawaii Five-O” theme song and “Mambo No. 5”.
Mayor Jose Montelibano and wife Marissa Montelibano headed the Silay delegation of young people playing the Rondalla’s banduria, laud, octavina, bajo de unas musically blending with the Marsiling Chinese Orchestra’s indigenous “Chinese Opera” string, wind and percussion instruments. Together with Silay’s first couple were Councilor Neil Solomon Locson, Tourism Officer Ver Pacete and Executive Assistant Susan Velez. Their presence likewise is to honor the significance of the occasion as “Love Across the Ocean II” coincided with Singapore’s celebration of its golden anniversary this year.
Councilor Locsin reminisced his personal interaction with the Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, whom he found out was a band player himself during his younger years and MCO’s founding father, Member of Parliament (MP), Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Manpower - Hawazi Daipi. Prime Minister Lee was the evening’s Guest of Honor.
Accordingly, Marsiling, represented by MP Hawazi Daipi, is a suburb of Woodlands New Town bordering Malaysia and is characterized by the “older living pattern” of Singapore. MP Daipi organized the Marsiling Chinese Orchestra 10 years ago as a collaboration program between Marsiling Citizens’ Consultative Committee and Marsiling Secondary School. Presently, the Orchestra consists of 209 musicians under the leadership of its conductor Mr. Low Cher Yong.
The Kabataang Silay Rondalla Ensemble, the serious history student Councilor Locsin narrated on the other hand, was founded two decades ago in Silay Institute by its Guidance Counselor Marla Locsin-Jalandoni. She would then gather young students in her office to play guitars until she developed them to become a rondalla and invited a Bacolodnon Jiegger Anjao to be its conductor. For the past 20 years, Maestro Anjao traveled daily to Silay to train and conduct young members of the Rondalla. Eventually, then Mayor Edwin Velez, especially through his wife Ruby, the City Government of Silay officially adapted the Rondalla as its musical ambassador.
Throughout its more than 20 years of existence now, the Kabataang Silay Rondalla Ensemble had performed in various events and official functions. It bagged regional and national musical competitions awards and has represented the Philippines in various international music festivals. The latest is this joint musical performance with the Marsiling Chinese Orchestra.*