May 25, 2017 – The 40th Regular Session, presided by Vice Mayor Shirlyn Bañas-Nograles, started with harmonious tunes last Tuesday, May 23, when young musicians performed before the honorable members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod.
With instruments in their hands, the young instrumentalists from the Gensan Youth Orchestra serenaded the public and the 18th Sangguniang Panglungsod.
Councilor Ramon R. Melliza, during his privilege speech, introduced the team which proceeded to delight the audience with their prepared classical and modern beats: a Lady Gaga-Bon Jovi-The Foundations woodwind medley performed by the orchestra’s brass and woodwind section, and themes from the New World Symphony and Mexican folk song “La Bamba”, performed by the whole orchestra – the last two pieces directed by St. Scholastica College professor and renowned Chilean violinist-conductor Juan Luis Muñoz.
Fernan Globen Talonding, the Camp’s organizer, explained during Councilor Melliza’s privilege hour that only General Santos City hosts a music camp with this size, with “registrants as far as Zamboanga, Iligan, Cagayan [de Oro], Davao, [and] surrounding municipalities – Polomolok [and] Alabel.”
The camp, he adds, has already a started scholarship program –which already has its first batch of applicants – to cater Out-of-School Youth (OSY) and Children In Conflict with the Law (CICL).
The Gensan Youth Orchestra is a product of the Gensan Music Camp under the South Philippines Choral and Orchestral Development Program of the Youth Affairs Division of the City Mayor’s Office, aimed on teaching the young individuals on the art of music.
In an interview early today, Talonding recounts the struggle of the camp to become what it is today. He tells that the camp – which was originally planned to launch in Bukidnon in 2014 but was unable due to conflicts on the date and venue – was relocated to General Santos City with the assistance of the Office of Councilor Ramon Melliza.
In the initial three years of the Camp, the organizers and attendees were forced to oftentimes change their practice location due to a lack of any permanent studio. At the moment, the Camp calls the Learning Resource Center of the Sangguniang Panglungsod and the Mindanao State University – College of Education Training Department as their make-shift studios.
Councilor Melliza’ privilege hour ended with a cathartic saxophone solo from maestro Dharixblue Villamor, one of the brilliant music instructors of the Music Camp. The Camp’s talented faculty who were present included Ms. Beverly Cariño, Mr. Maximo Pabon, Jr., and Ms. Marian April Abella.
“There’s only one reason,” answered conductor Muñoz when asked what drives him to teach music to the youth. “They are the future.”
The Music Camp is currently a part of the city’s month-long 2017 Summer Youth Festival.
- Hezekiah Kit Canlas