Symphonic band enthusiasts are in for a rare treat as the UP College of Music presents the UP Symphonic Band in a concert at the Abelardo Hall Auditorium on July 18 at 6:30 p.m.
Dean José Buenconsejo of the UP College of Music says the concert is part of the Philippine music heritage series of the school.
The concert is billed “An Ode to the Filipino People,” as the band will render all-Filipino symphonic-band original compositions. Rodney Ambat will conduct the UP Symphonic Band.
Buenconsejo says the concert pays tribute to music leaders who made remarkable contributions to the development of band music in the country, especially during the early 20th century when the pre-war Philippines Constabulary band, founded by the Afro-American Walter H. Loving in 1902, was hailed for its high level of musicianship.
The compositions of Capt. Pedro Navarro, who succeeded Loving in 1916, highlight the concert’s program. Only nine of his pieces survive today even as research is being relentlessly done to find more. His music, musicologists say, is composed for band with light, sometimes whimsical melodies, and combines both Spanish and military influences.
Navarro won the admiration of leading band conductors of his time, including John Philip Sousa.
Born on June 29, 1879, Navarro hailed from Tagudin, Ilocos Sur. He studied under maestro Marcelo Adonay from 1894 to 1898, and José Masslovet, a Spanish violin teacher.
In 1899, he joined the US Volunteer Band. Loving heard him and succeeded in recruiting him and assured him of better opportunities in the PC Band, even if he had “better pay and privileges” in his former unit.
In 1916, Loving got sick and retired from the band. He passed on the baton to Navarro in a fitting concert at the Luneta as the band played “Auld Lang Syne.”
Navarro’s stint as conductor of the PC Band lasted only for a year as he retired in 1917.
Navarro’s works to be played are: Paso Doble; Petit Divertissement for Trombone, with Josua Mesa as soloist; “The Bonnet”; “Id Est,” Solo for B Flat Cornet, with Jasper G. Peralta as soloist; and “Col. Loving March.”
Other works to be performed are: Marcha Patriotica by Daniel Fajardo; Overture by Fr. Amado Buencamino; Antonino Buenaventura’s “Ode to the Republic” and “Sa Dakong Silangan”; Lucio San Pedro’s “Lahing Kayumanggi”; and Valentin Mechilina’s “Sa Dalampasigan” Overture and “Lulay” March.
An educational exhibit highlighting Navarro’s career is set up at the Abelardo Lobby by Dr. Mary Talusan, the latter’s granddaughter.
For inquiries, call tel. 9260026, 9296963 or 9818500 loc. 2639.