Loving the snowflakes falling on this page once again. Merry Christmas!
I received a wonderful birthday gift from (and many thanks to) my long-time friends Ramil & Che. They gave me something I really need in my line of work. The sleek black iPod Nano made my eyes go wide upon ripping the plain-looking gift box handed to me by CeeCee, their youngest. I learned later that it is the 7th generation iPod Nano. Cool! Whatever it means is beyond the low-tech me. Upon the advise of my more techy friends, I set up my iTunes account and synched my gadget. Voila, a blissful listening journey on a 16-gig of space.
This pretty thing got its baptism of fire of sorts last month as my Salmo Chorale presented a concert coinciding with our church’s jade (35th) anniversary. Dubbed “Ride the Chariot,” we sang more than a dozen A Cappella songs from different albums. The Nano however, was used only once, as we only got one song with mp3 accompaniment, given that the event is actually an A Cappella concert, hello. 🙂 Just to break the series of unaccompanied line up, I inserted Jerusalem; which is backed up by a wonderful mp3 minus one. I was very impressed by the powerful and awesome sound of so thin and tiny a gadget. I have used it with my choir’s worship special numbers and some other singing engagements outside the church. I also discovered that it has built-in bluetooth so it can be used wireless with amplies with bluetooth. Wonderful, I should say. It looks handsome too. Mine is black but I think silver is as cool.
Recently though, I encountered some problems, not with the Nano itself, but with iTunes. I have converted several of my laptop videos and uploaded them in my Nano. After a few days, iTunes suddenly ran into unknown trouble and “stopped working.” When it did, I realized after my last 3 synching that some movies uploaded earlier were missing. Too bad, I put some mini-series in my Nano. What is left on my Movie Playlist are 5 items, Parts 5-9 of a 9-part series. All my previous uploads are gone.
But I’m pretty sure though that the problem is with iTunes rather than with the Nano. In fact I’ve enjoyed at least 3 full-length movies in my tiny gadget very recently. I tried viewing the movies via my iTunes (on my laptop) and the poor App hangs each time. It really is the iTunes, not the Nano. that is the problem. However, I was relieved to see that my music collections are left untouched and intact.
The earpieces and the USB laptop charger look and feel durable too. Unlike other earphones I’ve used, it looks more sleek and stronger; looks like it is capable of enduring more than its share of spills and pulls.
The iPod Nano 7th generation also has apps for health (running, walking), photos, and podcasts, although I enjoy looking at pics on my PC rather than on this gadget for obvious reasons. Besides I have poor eyesight; maybe that’s why.
It’s not too sleek for images but it is surprisingly entertaining to watch movies with. Of course, I highly appreciate the high quality mp3 playback. All in all, I give the Nano 3.5 stars with 5 stars being the highest.
What is a true music student? Find out if you are with this short short list. You will find out if your study style and habit sync with these three attributes. A true music student…
Lives a Music Student Lifestyle
A very promising and effective choir member lives this kind of life. You regularly find them flipping through some music sheets and stares at them like they’re reading their favorite magazines. Regular practice sessions do not satisfy them. They keep on finding time to open their music materials and listen to their music either on their earphones or their home sound system. You may also see them bring their albums to work or school. That is dedication, no doubt about it.
My younger sister, Brenda, who, when she was still single, was a school teacher (eventually became the school registrar when she got married), was also a member of a respected Christian choral group “His Sounds” As I see her go to work, I see her bring her choir pieces with her. She was one of those whom Kuya Romy, their choir master, can really count on. She is a self-starter; she has initiative. And she is also one of the reasons why her choir shines wherever it went–here and abroad. Their choir “headquarter,” the home of their choir director, became her third home actually; our house being the first, the school dorm where she lived and worked being the second, and Kuya Romy Pesaña’s home, her third, where they congregate several times a week to master their repertoires. She is every choir director’s dream choir member I should say; and she being my sister has nothing to do with that remark 🙂
Falls in Love With Music
They develop genuine attachment with Music itself. Occasionally, I see someone’s FB stat say, “Music is my life,” or “Listening to Mozart (or Lea Salonga, the Madz, a.k.a. the Philippine Madrigal Singers or any other hear-worthy artists)” or “I miss my choir”… or the title of their latest music study or lines from them, e.g. “…♫And this is love, Not that I have first loved You. And this is love, That You have first loved me♫…”
Not very seldom do you see them openly exclaim their fondness for their art. So the Bible says, “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks” They are ardent disciples of it.
I have a handful of Facebook friends who are just like that; Mabel, a young woman in Malaysia, is one true example of someone who can’t help but express her great love for her music. It’s not uncommon I see her say, “I miss singing with this choir…. :-(” or “Combined choir sessions are always awesome” or something funny like “It would be hilarious to put a song which consist of high pitched choral music at this hour!” Seriously, for me, she is one of those who really appreciate the gift of music. Her kind not only totally fall in love with it, but would undoubtedly suffer much in its absence. Good thing, music will never really go; because it stays within the person.
Preoccupation With the Craft
Lance, one of my chorale singers, is a registered Architect. Online 24/7, or it seems like it, as he worked through the day, I picture him doing CAD drafting, designing structures and interiors, updating his Facebook to shake off work-related stress build up, staying in touch with his friends online, and sharing his food trips. Well, many of us are like him –or, if you felt a sudden urge to violently disagree with that ha hah– it is not uncommon to update one’s stats several times a day. Ok, but what’s noteworthy on his online babble, is you frequently read him appreciate music, share his thoughts on music videos, share lines taken from his latest music pieces, share his music adventures with his music colleagues and the rest of us.
He may be busy where he gets his bread and butter, but there is this thread in him he chooses not to shake off, not even for a day. And that is genuine passion for his craft. He does not switch his music ON & OFF, he lives his day with it. It is his refuge, his drinking fountain, his life.
If a choral singer is to be a true musician, he should be a music student for life. A student that is forever hungry for more; ever learning, ever passionate. Brenda, Mabel and Lance aren’t the only ones like that. Thank God there are others. Question is, are you one of them? Well if you are, your group or choir and your choir master are just so blessed to have you. Keep the fire burning. 🙂
If a choral singer is to be an asset to their group, they should exhibit the attributes of a true music student. Providentially, and speaking from experience, I am blessed to have a handful of singers possessing these traits. It’s only a matter of personal choice whether others would emulate them. I surely hope to see it realized one day soon.
From the way they sing their (vertical) vowels, to how they “team up” with their mentor, to the facial expressions (open masque) and body language (and alignment), the BYU Singers have got what it takes to be excellent chorale singers.
*See how they pronounce some words like “angels” “sing” etc. Those are what vertical vowels are.
I enjoyed every moment of this video. And one viewing wasn’t enough for me. Look how awesome a choir gets when they master the proper choral singing techniques. One of my choirs is almost there 🙂
Last night, my EBC Salmo Chorale sang a full length concert entitled “THE GREAT DIVIDE” (an evangelistic concert) at the Greenhills Christian Fellowship (GCF-East). Praise the Lord for souls saved. And for the gift of music.
See more images in this album HERE. Images by Miss Rochelle Marie Ocampo.
Can you mimic the tone of a single note pressed anywhere the entire length of the keyboard?
Can you easily replay a passage played on the piano?
Are you sensitive enough to hear nuances on melodies and sing them easily?
Sadly, some persons, even those in the chorus find these things difficult. So very few are the individuals with the innate ear/talent to easily pass the tests.
If you are one of them, you are blessed. If you’re not, you need to give double effort. A less-endowed but diligent learner can also pass the tests. But as I said, they need to give more.
If you consistently fail the ear tests, that’s another matter.
Interest, a.k.a. dedication, a.k.a. devotion, is a very important barometer if a choir/group is on its way to excellence.
Do you, as members look forward to the rehearsals?
Do you study on your own?
Do you carry your song sheets with you?
*Sometimes it’s ironic to see people eagerly join the choir, but always give excuses they cannot come to practice. What it meant is, their choir responsibility gets pushed to the least of their priorities. They can easily forego of the rehearsals. They go to all kinds of places and occasions and if it conflicts with the choir, guess what gets booted out of the schedule.
*It’s refreshing to see singers really make time for the sessions, and hardly absent themselves. You can also see them all focused on the tasks at hand. Some others are distracted and bored but they are not. You see them thirst for the routines and the learning.
Are you the kind of learner who is excited to try something new? Or are you the type who frowns at changes and difficult routines? Losers (sorry, no pun intended) are the ones who find themselves silently or loudly complaining about every little hard thing sent their way. Winners are the ones who look at the task and with focused resolve deliver.
Sometimes success over challenges lies on the attitude.
In short, be teachable. Accept tasks. Focus on the tasks. Deliver smoothly.
Individuals as we are, we developed unique ways of using our voices whether it be in speaking or in singing. We have different accents, didn’t we? And some of us speak/sing in modulated voice and still some of us do nasally. Some have high pitched voices, and vice versa.
In the chorus, it is given that we have different vocal ranges. But speaking of unity, we need to learn a united process in singing. And it is always with a full-throated ease. Sing vowels the same way, always vertically, never ever horizontally, unless the song asks for it, e.g. in singing tribal songs, ethnic pieces and the like.
If a choir is to be photographed, everyone should be captured with the same facial movements, the same mouth opening, the same jaw drop, the same facial expression, etc. Nobody should be deviating from the group goal.
I have always tried to go the extra mile. Aside from the usual drill a choir director goes through, from time to time, I create mp3 vocal guides. Sadly, very few people subscribe to them. Very few actually download those mp3s. And the result is predictable: very few actually deliver excellence. Summation: lackluster group performance. Why? Because there are people who would rather idle or play around. Until judgment day. I mean they realize how foolishly they stashed away all the help they can get too late in the day. Well, some of them awakes a day or two before judgment day, and cram their way to the performance.
Having a great choir is never incidental. A good choir is composed of good members. Who are these good people? They are the ones who give a great deal of their focused ANALYSIS, THOUGHT and EFFORT. If every singer can honestly say they carry these ideals in a preparation, the result will be astounding. The result will be rewarding. The result will be encouraging to go on and improve the singing craft.
Happy anniversary, EDSA!
A choir with a refreshing image and cool performances, here singing a medley of Bee Gees selections. Just having some good time singing. Fresh.
For expression and interpretation, FTW!
My long awaited Palawan getaway to my great dismay, was deferred a few days more because Mitsubishi Motors launched the All New Fuso Canter two days later than my scheduled flight. I tried to practice them to sing without me but I realized I had to give in to their whines for me to stay. The song was too difficult for them to sing on their own. So there I was, raring to go but felt like being grabbed on my tracks and told to STOP! 😦
Anyways, Ma’am Lulu and Ms. Dada of MMPC Chorale rebooked my flight and shouldered the rebooking charges so I did not shell out additional expenses. The All-New Fuso Canter Launching, 23April was a success and our choral numbers were very much appreciated and applauded so the flight delay was well worth it. And the Canter Song was a big big hit, we even had photo ops and some small talk/greetings with the “mighty” men of Mitsubishi. Admittedly, I had no idea as to what their names were, but they definitely belong to the top brass of Mitsubishi International.
April 24th, I was with my relatives cheerfully travelling the road to NAIA 4. Part of our group has been in Palawan since the 21st, my original date of departure, and were waiting for us to join them. We, eight adults and one tiny boy, Boj were brought to the airport by my other brother, Manolo and his brother in law, Elmer; on two SUV’s.
Everything went like a breeze; the checking in of our baggages, the plane, the take off, though the flight seemed long; maybe due to the excitement of getting there asap. BTW, Kris de Jesus managed to get a seat and joined us as we queue for our flight. At the Puerto Princesa Airport, there was a problem with the van that was supposed to pick us up, so we had to get another service. After a long land travel, we finally reached our destination, the town of Quezon. My Ate and her family has a reservation at Villa Esperanza, so we disembarked at that resort. We texted Brenda, my sister who lives a few blocks away, with her family. Pastor Jezer, her husband is the Senior Pastor at Faith Baptist Church.
It was a very hot day and I felt like running to the sea, but first things first. Ruthie, my sweetest niece will be coming in a few minutes with her brother Marc and Mama Brenda.
So the three of them came and as expected the kids were a bit shy and unresponsive. The kids were so endearing that I forgot all the travel wear and tear. Later, we joined the first 3 who planed in three days earlier, Bong, Lance and Rorie. They were staying at the church parsonage. We have a friend (Aerol) who has been there for several weeks already. So we had a little reunion of sorts; our party, Brenda and her family, Aerol, and the early three, Bong, Lance and Rorie. We had a hearty but late lunch and a happy happy day! That evening, there was a final rehearsal for the concert next day so the church was bustling with activities and people. Lance, Aerol, Kuya Juni, and Bong, Feric and Bethel Faye sang in the chorus.
Did I mention that after the choir practice, Lance and Aerol, true blue cousins, sort of missed each other’s company. Aerol accompanied Lance on the keyboard as the latter sang all night long. 🙂
Our activities, besides the endless bonding with the kids, were the 2-day island hopping-at Tamlangon, Double Island, Tabon Caves and Sand Bar. Each island beams of its own uniqueness and charm.
Sadly, Kuya Juni, who went to Palawan on his own, after visiting his properties, had to return to Manila a few days ahead of all of us. He wasn’t able to join us in our island “gimmicks.”
Over and above the excitement, my brother-in-law, Dr. Fernando Galvez did a medical mission there for the second time. We were also there last year for the same reason. But the meds baggage did not make it on time though, so the church had to buy medicines from a local medical supplier. One other reason we were there was to help out in the choir concert my sister Brenda* and her church painstakingly prepared to raise some funds for the medical mission. It was the “Experiencing God” concert. And our group gave *a special song number (Tanging Ikaw)* at this church’s morning worship. But of course, the most special reason we came is to visit our youngest relatives we’ve been missing all these months.
Our Palawan days were hot and humid with frequent brownouts and scarce tap water. But we will always find ourselves in that island, brownouts, want of potable water, heat and all;
hopefully more frequent than once a year. For it is where we get to kiss our little relatives we love so dearly and yet we scarcely see.
Tricia, Brenda’s youngest is the new sensation, she has a ready smile for everyone at all times. The little kids had the time of their lives, Ruthie, Marc, Tricia and Boj.
And this was one of my happiest summers ever. Maybe distance really makes the heart grow fonder. But near or far, my heart longs to embrace my little loved ones.
And as a matter of fact, everyone had the time of their lives…
On our way home (sadly, all good things come to an end, and I had to leave Bebe Ruthie while she sleeps, and that was hard), we managed to pass by the Baker’s Hill (where I bought my bracelet pasalubong for my MMPC, the Mitra Mansion, the Butterfly Sanctuary, and stayed at Chow King for more than three hours, :))
Surprisingly, the return flight seemed too brief. I thought maybe because I was longing to stay. But I knew Inay needs me too. Thanks to Gelong and Joy who took care of her in my absence. Kuya Manolo fetched us at the airport. We had a late Jollibee takeout dinner and were too weary to be sad for leaving Ruthie, Marc & Tricia behind.
Brenda related Ruthie had a sad and misty morning seeing I had gone. I slept beside her all week long, and we bonded like father and daughter those seven days, so one can just imagine how she felt when she woke up and found me gone. Honestly, we traveled en route to Puerto Princesa in silence. And heartbreak. Brenda decided to inflate the portable pool I brought for them so to brighten up the day again.
Don’t be sad; I’ll see you again soon, Ruthie*.
*Click to view videos.
For more pics, pls. visit my Facebook account.
Thanks for the images and videos**, Pastor Jezer, Rorie**, Lance, Kris, Beng, Beuls, and Pastor Davis.