The Music of the ‘70s… from the sixties
PEOPLE - Joanne Rae M. Ramirez, Pepper Teehankee (The Philippine Star) - July 30, 2013 - 12:00am

They say music is the universal language. So what better way to share a friendship, a belief, a cause — than through music? And what better way to express them than through the rhythm of an era?

To celebrate their senior citizenship (most of them are turning 60 this year), the King of the Blues (KOB), composed of Ateneo Grade School ‘67, High School ‘71 and College ‘75/76, switched off the Wi-Fi and turned on the hi-fi sounds of the ‘70s with a charity concert called “Saturday Night Groovin’” — held on July 20 at the Rockwell Tent. If the date rings a bell, it’s because it also marked the historic moonwalk of Neil Armstrong in 1969 and immortalized Gloria Diaz as the first Filipina to win the Miss Universe pageant. In more recent events, July 20, 2013 saw the culmination of the Ignatian Festival, which carried the theme, “Lahing Loyola, Para sa Kapwa.”

The concert proudly featured the top bands of their era — the Circus Band and New Minstrels — with Ding Mercado, Eugene Villaluz, Jacqui Magno and Pat Castillo; culminating with the “dance-till-you-drop” repertoire of the impressive Clouds@Night band of Gabby Claudio.

“Most of us are turning 60 this year. Our way of celebrating and giving thanks is by giving back to others,” explained Noel Canivel, who emceed the show together with Monet Posadas. “It is the Ateneo Way,” added Boy Favis.

The Ateneo way — or the KOB way, in this case — is coming to the aid of state hospitals like the Philippine General Hospital, National Children’s Hospital and Philippine Orthopedic Center, as well as providing medical attention to ailing Jesuits who were, at one time, the school batch’s mentors. By donating the proceeds from the fund-raising concert, KOB hopes to make a difference in helping the underprivileged.

If a book were to be written about these Ateneans who have shared a bond for more than 40 years, it would probably be entitled, “From Rock Garden To Rockwell.” The rock garden was the playground of choice in the Ateneo grade school grounds back in the ‘60s. There were no slides, swings or see-saws here (those were for kids, not for men). Just jagged rocks and boulders, crevices, talahib, bugs, mud, slimy moss and high places to jump from and break a leg. This was where friendships were tested and sealed; where scores were settled; where bruises and wounds were badges of honor. These boys carried this culture through their high school and college years as new classmates joined in. The rock garden was a place of ritual, a weeding process to prepare one for any challenge. And one of those challenges came 53 years later, on July 20, at the Rockwell Tent.

Just as these Ateneans pride themselves in being persons for others, they share a bond with corporations who temper business with social responsibility. Sponsors of the fund-raising event were led by Meralco through its affiliate, One Meralco Foundation. Other donors were San Miguel Corp., Skygo Marketing, a Cebu-based enterprise that manufactures and assembles the country’s very own motorcycles under the Skygo brand, Rockwell Land, The Philippine Star, PeopleAsia, Cova Tapas Bar, Bestway Transport, Del Monte and Unilab.

The decade of the ‘70s was better known as the Angry ‘70s. It was a time of discontent — with government, with the ruling class, with the system, with virtually everything. But it was also the golden age of music. The Age of Aquarius. A time for soul-searching. A time to make a difference. In one impromptu number performed by KOB’s Dr. Alan Ortiz, he shared with the audience these moving verses by Kendrew Lascelles:

 

“When all the laughter dies in sorrow

And the tears have risen to a flood

When all the wars have found a cause

In human wisdom and in blood

Do you think they’ll cry in sadness

Do you think the eye will blink

Do you think they’ll curse the madness

Do you even think they’ll think

 

When all the great galactic systems

Sigh to a frozen halt in space

Do you think there will be some remnant

Of beauty of the human race

Do you think there will be a vestige

Or a sniffle or a cosmic tear

Do you think a greater thinking thing

Will give a damn that man was here.”

The KOB Seniors Ball is about giving a damn. And as these fine senior citizens look back to the road where the rat race was run and to a corporate world that no longer needs them, they know that there is still the real world out there. A world that still needs them. A cause that begs them to give a damn.

(You may e-mail me at joanneraeramirez@yahoo.com.)

AGE OF AQUARIUS ALAN ORTIZ ATENEANS ATENEO ATENEO GRADE SCHOOL ATENEO WAY ROCKWELL TENT THINK
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