MSO’s virtual concert for a cause

Pablo A. Tariman - The Philippine Star
MSO�s virtual concert for a cause
The Manila Symphony Orchestra in virtual concert. Still alive and supporting worthy causes.

MANILA, Philippines — It seems bizarre watching a concert through a private password in the internet.

Then the images of musicians come in assorted setting and seemingly holed in private cubicles.

But miracle of miracle, they were all in sync and enjoying a wide cyberspace audience who were free to comment while concert was going on.

This is my first virtual concert after seven months of isolation. I just realized I just need to adjust fast because live concerts might just be a thing of the past. For the moment.

It is an all-OPM (Original Pilipino Music) concert formatted as a rush hour music-making for people waiting for traffic to subside.

Opener is Limang Dipang Tao (1981) by Ryan Cayabyab and you need to just imbibe the lively rhythm in an original piece meant to be sung. Its symphonic equivalent is far more pleasant to the ears. What is amazing is that the orchestra made something unique of the piece. Its contemporary sound wrapped in symphonic cover was a treat.

One cannot imagine a cello soloist in the Freddie Aquilar classic, Anak.

But the Manila Symphony Orchestra (MSO) made something symphonically uplifting of the piece with cellist Louie Vincent Talusan providing the poignant details.

The MSO concert is a pleasant afternoon of OPM music. One way or the other, the concert was a trip down memory lane in the 80s.

Louie Ocampo’s Si Aida, O Si Lorna Or Si Fe (1989) made one recall a movie with that title and the actors who made its wit alive.

Who can forget Florante’s Handog (1970) and in this virtual concert, MSO dedicated the piece to the long time supporter of the orchestra, Dr. Benito Legarda who passed away this year.

The last two numbers — Willy Cruz’s Sana’y Wala Nang Wakas (1986) and Ely Buendia’s Ang Huling El Bimbo (1996) — wrapped up a late afternoon’s rush hour concert.

Just to see an orchestra perform with members in different settings is a marvel of technical execution. The symphonic sound of MSO remained on the higher realm in pieces originally meant for the pop crowd.

Just imagine what the musicians went through to pull off this concert.

A production team filmed every member of the orchestra with every song number painstakingly reviewed. The videos were put together to make it appear as one live performance.

But what is gratifying is that the concert — presented by Avida Land which is observing its 30th year — is for a good cause.

Tess Tatco, marketing manager of Avida Land Corp, said celebrating a milestone during a pandemic was a challenge. But the company saw it as a challenge to give back and celebrate life by uplifting lives.

Proceeds from the concert will be used to provide a year-long internet access to 500 underprivileged scholars aged five to 21 for their online schooling. The recipients of internet access come from Tondo, Batangas and MIMAROPA.

Founded in 1926 by Alexander Lippay, the MSO is a living musical jewel in Manila’s music scene. The participation of the Manila Symphony Junior Orchestra in this fundraising concert is a cause for celebration.

Even if the future of live concerts remain in the dark, we are of course gratified that musicians remains alive and willing to help in the name of worthy causes.

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