It was an enchanted evening of fine “kundiman” and “rondalla” music. And the elderly Filipinos in the audience immensely enjoyed it as they heard once more popular Filipino songs.
Some turned nostalgic as they remembered the good, old days when the “harana” (serenade) was still a traditional way of expressing one’s love to a maiden.
Loud applause erupted at the end of every performance. Philippine Consul General Generoso D.G. Calonge, who came from Chicago to grace the evening event, said, the presentation was “one of the best I have seen.”
According to Benita Maria B. Murriel, president of the Philippine Arts and Culture Ensemble of Michigan (PACE-MI) which staged the show last June 20 in the St. Francis Church Activity Center in Ann Arbor, “the presentation is a culmination of the dedication, commitment and hard work of our participants, organizers, volunteers and supporters.”
The presentation was simply dubbed “Ugnayan ng Ating Kultura” (Linkages of Our Culture), but it was packed with numbers showing the exquisite beauty of Philippine cultural dances and songs.
The show opened with the performance by the Kulintang Ensemble which presented diverse music and dances of Southern Philippines. The Kulintang musical numbers included “Duyug,” Maguindanao; “Kanduro Pampang,” Maranao; and “Badbad,” Manobo.
The ethnic dances performed were “Asik,” a Maguindanao maiden solo dance; and “Singkil,” a Maranao royal dance.
Part II of the program featured a special music presentation. Roy Coloma, a top-caliber pianist and piano instructor, presented a virtuoso performance as he played in the piano “Damdamin” and “Inday,” two Buencamino musical pieces with complicated notes.
This was followed by a vocal solo by Patricia Sorra Cabuena who sang San Pedro’s “Sa Ugoy ng Duyan.” Patricia’s typical Filipina beauty, fine voice and superb singing evoked nostalgic remembrances of the Philippine rural scene in the old days. She was accompanied by the Rondalla Ensemble.
Next came a vocal number of Elizabeth Ordinario whose operatic voice impressed the audience. She sang “Diwata ng Pag-ibig” (Goddess of Love) and “Lulay” (a maiden’s name), showcasing the full range of her voice.
Part III of the program was the performance by the Rondalla and Dance Ensembles with the special participation of Professor Christi-Anne Castro, Ph.D, of the University of Michigan’s Ethnomusicology Faculty.
Called “Festival in the Village,” the rondalla presentation featured popular pieces – namely, “Bahay Kubo,” “Dandansoy,” “Harana: O Ilaw,” and “Naranyag a Bulan.” The Harana number was presented by Gigi Olegario, who was the maiden being serenaded, and her husband Francis Olegario, the serenader.
The folk dances performed were “Salakot,” “Itik-Itik,” “Carinosa,” “Sayaw sa Bangko,” and “Tinikling.” This portion showcased the budding terpsichorean talents of children wearing Filipino attire.
Sean Almendras, who was the master of ceremonies, related funny stories about Filipinos during the intermission.
The finale was a community singing of “We say Mabuhay.”