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San Miguel kills orchestra, chorale
[February 04, 2007]

San Miguel kills orchestra, chorale

(Philippine Daily Inquirer Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) THE SAN MIGUEL Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorale are dead.

Late last month, instrumentalists of the only corporate-supported orchestra in the country were summoned one by one by the big bosses who informed them of the non-renewal of their contracts.

Ditto with the members of the San Miguel Chorale.

Many of the orchestra and chorale members did not get separation pay.

It is not known what happened to Ryan Cayabyab, the executive director and artistic director of the San Miguel Foundation for the Performing Arts.

Insiders said that San Miguel Corp., the biggest food and beverage company in Southeast Asia, was more inclined to support basketball. San Miguel has four basketball teams in the professional league: San Miguel, Ginebra, Coca-cola and Purefoods.

The latest income statement by San Miguel showed the conglomerate is in the utmost pink of health. In November, it reported that its nine-month net income grew 18 percent, to P6.17 billion from P5.22 billion in the same period last year, boosted by its strong local and international beer operations and strong sales by its Australian dairy unit, National Foods Ltd.

Both founded in 2001, the highly promising San Miguel Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorale were suddenly disbanded early this year while no one was looking.

And no one is expected to drink to that.

Rondalla festival

The 2nd International Rondalla Festival reels off in Dumaguete City, Feb. 21-March 31, at the Silliman Hall of the Silliman University. It will feature not only performances but also exhibits highlighting the plucked-string tradition of the Visayas region and the Philippines and sampling of plucked-string instruments from various cultures.

The project is a tie-up between the Musicological Society of the Philippines, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, and the province of Negros Oriental headed by arts-friendly Gov. George Arnaiz.

Call 9260028

Romanian violin superstar

Alexandru Tomescu just wrapped up his highly successful European tour with a piano trio.

He will return to Manila to close the Great Performance Series at the Philamlife Theater on Feb. 24, 8 p.m., with pianist Mary Anne Espina.

His Manila concert is a tribute to violinists Redentor Romero, Carmencita Lozada and Ernesto Vallejoall violin greats of their generation.

Call 9007023 or 0906-5104270.

Return performance

Sensational Russian pianist Ilya Rashkovskiy, who debuted in Manila in December to great audience and media acclaim, will be back April 15 at the Philamlife Theater with an entirely new recital program. Call 9007023 or 09065104270.

War memoirs

The book not to be missed for the New Year is Carmen Guerrero Nakpils autobiography Myself, Elsewhere.

The book has a stunning recollection of Ermita before the war. It tells about the roots of the Guerreros.

One discovers that the authors first husband, Lt. Ismael A. Cruz, is a nephew of Jose Rizal. In fact, Nakpil had lived with Rizals sister, Maria, in the Cruz residence in Paco during the Japanese Occupation. That makes Gemma Cruz-Araneta, the authors daughter with Cruz, the grandniece of Rizal.

One also discovers that on one side of the Guerrero clan, Nakpil is the cousin of Jose Mossesgeld Santiago Font, the first and the last Filipino opera singer to sing at La Scala di Milan in Italy.

Nakpil opens the book with an observation that prewar Ermita, where she was born and raised, was not the garish, broken-down, patchwork, district it is today.

In the 1920s, 30s and before February 1945, says the author, Ermita was a charming, colonial town built by Europeans and Americans for their delectation. It had an air of Casablanca, Acapulco or Nice about it.

But the most riveting part is really the untold war story of the author and how her genteel life in Ermita came to an abrupt end in the bloody summer of 1945.

On the night of Feb. 5, 1945, a Japanese sentry was found dead near the street of the Cruz residence in Paco, and the Japanese officers exacted revenge on the entire Cruz family, including Nakpils husband.

This was the same week Japanese soldiers stormed the nipa hut of the family of conductor Redentor Romero in Novaliches. Romero saved his life by playing a Japanese piece called Hamabe No Uta on his violin.

This was also the same week the countrys first violin prodigy, Ernesto Vallejo, was killed by the retreating Japanese Marines in Tanauan, Batangas, and his four priceless violins were burned.

Nakpil was seven months pregnant (of son, Toto). But with a 16-month-old Gemma in tow, she decided to go back to her Ermita home. Leaving her Paco abode, she ran into a battle zone in Ermita and Malate, which were full of the wounded, the dead and the dying.

Surviving the Japanese marauders and seeing her dear old Ermita virtually reduced to ruins, Nakpil writes the most touching part of the book: I had lost my husband, both my homes, my hometown, my city, all resources of every kind except my parents and my brothers who were also destitute. And I was 22.

The bookwith its beautiful account of prewar Ermita and shocking account of war destructionis my Memoir of the Year.

Copyright 2007 Philippine Daily Inquirer. Source : Financial Times Information Limited (Trademark)

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