This is one of the reflection papers I made during my first year in UP Los Baños. I was thinking about what a waste it will be if my English 2 professor will be the only living person on earth (aside from me) who can read this, so now I’m sharing this for everyone to see. However, I’m not guaranteeing you that this paper is very exceptional and well-written. Also, I will be posting some of my papers too, to keep my blog alive this summer.
For a little bit of background, Harmonya is the String Ensemble of UPLB. I watched their concert last February to satisfy my cravings for art and music, and partly because those who watch the concert will be rewarded 10 points for incentive in HUM 2. The concert, entitled “Selebrasyon” was also a part of the First Southern Tagalog Arts Festival. The reason why I made this paper is because I feel like it, and also because my ENG 2 prof is giving out incentives for those who will write reflection papers for the different events during the Festival.
I always dreamt of watching a concert led by an orchestra or some musical ensemble, even though movies greatly depict them as boring. Sadly, I grew up in a town that doesn’t even have a venue fit for recitals. The Harmonya’s concert was my first.
I was glad to hear that UPLB has a string ensemble, and that they will have a concert this February. With or without incentives, I was determined to watch and hear them play.
I love Harmonya the day that I first heard them perform, and now I love them more because of the concert. The combination of their instruments was lovely to hear. They played the songs as if they were their own while still managing to keep the original song and giving it justice.
However, not everything was perfect. There were some mistakes – a slight mistake in strumming, bowing, playing a note, etc – but they were very minimal and I doubt that everybody in the audience noticed it. Also, in my own opinion, the “My Heart Will Go On” solo part was played in a slightly higher pitch than what is necessary. It was lovely, yes, but I wouldn’t say it was the best cover because of the pitch. The violins were also good, their sound do blend in with one another but their movements do not. Some plays in long “glides/bows” while some plays them short. Anyone can argue that the movements are not that necessary, but I know that when you are in a musical group, whether in an orchestra, marching band, ensemble, you are supposed to blend in along with the other members of the group. It is the soloist’s job to stand out.
In every musical group, we should not forget to acknowledge the presence of the conductor because they are very important. Their hands guide the music. Also, we should not underrate them by saying that waving the arms and hands is an easy and silly thing to do. For a conductor, it is not that simple because they have to be in the right beat to ensure that the players are guided well. Also, the mere fact that they are using their limbs for more than five minutes without a break is very tiring. I know the exact feeling because have experienced being a conductor too, back in my fourth year in high school when I was assigned to our school’s marching band.
Conducting is a tiresome job because you are not allowed to stop even if your muscles hurt a lot. Stopping means the song will have to stop too. In contrast, “cutting” or putting a stop to a song is also hard, because you need to be in the right beat to administer the “ready” part of the cut, and should still be in the right beat when you cut the song for it to end nicely.
As a conductor myself, I feel that the hardest thing the conductor has to cope up with is getting everybody’s attention. Sometimes, not all of his/her players look at him/her for guidance. I experienced this too, that is why I noticed that not all of the members of Harmonya looks at their conductor. This happens when the players know the song by heart or that they can’t take their eyes off from the music score or their instruments.
Ms. Marie Angelica Dayaw is a very good conductor. One can see from the movement of her arms the emotion of the music. She moves gracefully in accordance to the music, and I did not see her falling out of beat even once. Gently she moves with Pathetique and full of vigour she moves with Cancan. Even with the smooth transitions of Michael Jackson’s songs in the MJ Medley still she showed varying emotions in harmony with the music.
The entire concert left me feeling full of joy and happiness. However, it also left me feeling quite empty because it reminded me so much of my musical instruments back at home, which I can’t play right now while I’m still here in Los Baños. It made me feel nostalgic. Pathetique was one of the classical songs I taught myself, using a music score and my electric piano. El Bimbo and the MJ Medley made me feel sad because of the memory of the disbandment of the Eraserheads and the death of my mother’s favourite singer and dancer – Michael Jackson. Still, I was happy to hear these songs once again. Saranggola sa Ulan, which was my first time hearing it, reminded me a lot of my childhood – the simplicity of songs, their innocence and sweet melodies. The conductress also reminded me of my high school life as a conductress myself and the sheer joy of swaying the arms with the melody. Harmonya reminded me of our marching band – the joy of being in a group, playing music, having fun, entertaining people, and giving out love and joy for everyone.