Quantcast
Latest Stories

Tonyboy Cojuangco takes to the guitar–and even gets gigs for it

Baby boomers like Lenny de Jesus rekindle their passions

By

TONYBOY Cojuangco reads the notes transcribed by the lead guitarist. PHOTO BY ARNOLD ALMACEN AND JIM GUIAO PUNZALAN

Baby boomers are defying convention and their age as they indulge the passions of their youth.

Upon “retirement,” billionaire art patron Antonio “Tonyboy” Cojuangco picked up his guitar again. When former government official and classically-trained pianist Lenny de Jesus left Malacañang, she learned to play the flute and the rhythm guitar. Cojuangco and De Jesus are the new members of the Glass Onion band.

This is Cojuangco’s latest support for the arts, aside from his patronage of Cinemalaya, Ballet Philippines, Tanghalang Pilipino, Manila Symphony Orchestra, Arts in the City, the guitar and jazz festivals, and others.

Pushing 61, Cojuangco plays the rhythm guitar and gets gigs for them. He recalls that he used to play the guitar in the Ateneo high school band. He admits he wasn’t diligent enough as a student. “When I was a kid, I practiced only when the teacher was there.”

GLASS Onion at Lolo Dad’s Brasserie. PHOTO BY ARNOLD ALMACEN AND JIM GUIAO PUNZALAN

In the past two years, he has been taking up classical guitar lessons and note reading under Armando Derecho. “I’d rather play contemporary music. I play songs that I like from the ’70s and ’80s. I learned to read notes last year,” he says.

Note reading can be either tedious or intimidating. But to sustain his pleasure, Cojuangco sticks to his favorite music such as songs by Chicago. “I’d like to play Latin songs, but I don’t have time. We still have to come up with a repertoire.”

Creative outlet

Cojuangco says that as the pieces get technically difficult for him, he lets the Glass Onion shine. “The progressions of some notes are too quick. Sila na lang ang patugtugin mo. Listen to them. They’re very good. I tell Lenny we shouldn’t interfere with their capabilities,” he says.

LENNY de Jesus on rhythm guitar with ex-band member and ex-Cabinet member Russell Sobrepeña at Seventh High. PHOTO BY ARNOLD ALMACEN AND JIM GUIAO PUNZALAN

Likewise, despite encouragement from friends about holding a guitar recital, the intensely private and elusive Cojuangco demurs. “It’s too nerve-wracking,” he explains.

Still, Cojuangco enjoys having a creative outlet when he’s not playing art patron. “When we were young, we didn’t perform for an audience. In parties, the lights were turned off. Nobody sees you. Here, the spotlight is on you. The band consists of professionals. You have to be in unison with them.”

Friends say Cojuangco has the technique and the instincts. “When he’s playing, he can figure out the complicated chord patterns. That’s because he has learned to count the scales,” says De Jesus. “He reads scores very well and he’s got an ear for music.”

Impressive track record

GLASS Onion at Seventh High. PHOTO BY ARNOLD ALMACEN AND JIM GUIAO PUNZALAN

De Jesus has been playing classical piano since childhood, until she joined government. Her track record is impressive.  She joined government in 1976 as division head for labor relations at the Institute of Labor and Manpower Studies under Blas Ople. Under Frank Drilon, she held top posts in the Departments of Justice and Labor.

During the Cory Aquino administration, she worked as undersecretary for policy and programs. She also became undersecretary for local government under Cesar Sarino. During the Ramos and Estrada administrations, she headed the Presidential Management Staff. She also served as director of the Development Bank of the Philippines.

During Arroyo’s term, De Jesus quit the government. “I was tired. I hibernated. I went to get a life and play the piano,” she says.

GRETCHEN Barretto. PHOTO BY ARNOLD ALMACEN AND JIM GUIAO PUNZALAN

Still, De Jesus keeps a day job as consultant, and is board director of BDO Leasing and Finance Corp. and SM Development Corp.

Repertoire

One day, broadcaster Angelo Castro invited De Jesus to play the keyboard for his fraternity band, which subsequently formed the group Walking Shadows. Then, she tried the rhythm guitar when drummer Lito Toribio invited her to revive the Electromaniacs, a popular ’60s band which played original compositions.

When the group introduced vocals, De Jesus returned to the keyboard. The repertoire included songs by Billy Joel and Elton John sung by Boy Camara, a famous singer in the ’70s, and Dondi Ong, now the only Filipino cast member in the touring production of “The Phantom of the Opera” currently running at CCP. Through this band, De Jesus met Cojuangco, who played the rhythm guitar.

TONYBOY Cojuangco. PHOTO BY ARNOLD ALMACEN AND JIM GUIAO PUNZALAN

Foreign trips disrupted the playing of De Jesus and Cojuangco. Upon returning from America, she joined the Glass Onion, whose name was derived from one of the Beatles’ lesser-known songs. The band is backed up Matt Monro Jr. and John Ford Coley.

It is composed of Boy Mendez, lead male vocalist and percussion; Roy Marinduque, lead guitar; Rolly Roldan, bassist; Butch Sabater, keyboard; and Benjie Santos, drums.

Baby boomer music

It was Cojuangco’s idea to have a female vocalist to widen the repertoire. The newest addition, Cathy Melendrez, is the daughter of tenor Jimmy Melendrez.

The repertoire consists of music the baby boomer group grew up with—the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Eagles, Chicago, Steely Dan, Fleetwood Mac, Hall & Oates, Basia and Sergio Mendes.

CATHY Melendrez. PHOTO BY ARNOLD ALMACEN AND JIM GUIAO PUNZALAN

“I’ve never had so much fun as I am having now,” says De Jesus, a woman of a certain allure or, as she puts it, “a privilege cardholder.”

“I don’t look forward to performing for others. I just like to play music. Whether it’s practice or performance, the feeling is the same—pure joy,” she says.

A former official once asked her if she was embarrassed about leaving a prestigious job in the Cabinet and becoming a member of a band. She said, “If I had the talent as those of the band members, I would have been one all my life.”

The Glass Onion will perform at Strumm’s every Monday starting Sept. 24 and at Lolo Dad’s at 6750 Ayala on Sept. 29.


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Armando Derecho , Baby Boomers , Basia , Beatles , Chicago , Eagles , Fleetwood Mac , Glass Onion band , Hall & Oates , Lenny de Jesus , Lolo Dads , Rolling Stones , Sergio Mendes , Steely Dan , Strumm’s , Tonyboy Cojuangco

  • akramgolteb

    Yun picture ni Tita Gretchen sa article kinunan ng pinapanood niya si TBC sa 7th High. Hindi na linagyan ng caption ng Inquirer kasi sa ngiti pa lang ni Tita Gretchen alam na natin ang sinasabi niya sa loob loob niya : “Sige Papa Tony, magbanda ka na lang ng magbanda, ako na bahala sa pera mo.”.

  • rjimenez1226

    Milos is the best!

  • athenapallas

    Isn’t Gretchen a grandma now? Their daughter Dominique has already given birth several months ago. They are still hiding it, apparently.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408043825 Leih Ann Dizon Calilung

      Why? Are they obliged to blurt it out for the whole nation to witness? Come on.. What’s wrong with you people? Kaya hindi umaasenso ang bansa natin.. Dahil sa mga kagaya mo Athena..

      • athenapallas

        well, greta is a public figure – a showbiz persona who has been feeding us, the public, with all kinds of sordid going-ons in their life to stir controversy so that we would be interested to patronize their movies and ridiculous TV dramas, in other words, they make money out of us; in turn we also deserve to know. di mo gets, Calilung?

  • TMZPinoy

    These people are lucky especially Tony Boy Cojuangco….imagine they took all the money of the Marcoses in PLDT…The late Ramon Cojuangco is only a dummy  of Marcos in PLDT…even Danding Cojuangco the poorest among the Cojuangco clan before also looted the money of the Marcoses….ang swerte ng mga Cojuangco’s na ito…



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Almost mugged on Chino Roces Avenue
  3. President Quezon was born here–and so was Philippine surfing
  4. Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  5. How healing waters accompanied my journey of faith
  6. Transitions and resurrection in the performing arts
  7. Joe de Venecia visits the Queen Mother of Cambodia
  8. Palawan favorite getaway of show biz celebrities
  9. Noli Yamsuan, Cardinal Sin’s ‘official’ photographer: ‘I could smell the aftershave lotion of the Pope’
  10. ‘Archaeology tour’ of Cebu’s heritage of faith
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  3. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  4. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  5. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  6. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  7. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  8. This is not just a farm
  9. 12 other things you can do at Pico de Loro Cove
  10. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  4. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  5. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  6. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  7. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  8. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  9. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  10. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?

News

  • Malaysia, Flight 370 relatives talk financial help
  • Celebrating Easter and creativity in New York
  • Man wins half marathon, dies in Argentina
  • Clouds to bring slight relief from summer heat
  • Canadians rally to legalize marijuana
  • Sports

  • Reigning champs Miami open playoffs with win
  • Spurs subdue Mavericks in playoff opener
  • Wawrinka beats Federer to win Monte Carlo Masters
  • Ageless Hopkins pitches 50-50 Mayweather deal
  • Goodbye MGM, Las Vegas for Pacquiao?
  • Lifestyle

  • Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  • Transitions and resurrection in the performing arts
  • ‘Archaeology tour’ of Cebu’s heritage of faith
  • Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  • ‘Imports’ from London, and play of the year
  • Entertainment

  • ‘Captain America’ stays strong atop US box office
  • Easter musings
  • Solenn in shorts
  • Unmerry mix of attention-calling moves on ‘Mini-Me’ TV tilts
  • Persistence pays off for The 1975
  • Business

  • BDO seen keen on bidding for Cocobank
  • Bataan freeport investment pledges up 1,302%
  • Golden Week
  • Bourse to woo Cebu stock mart investors
  • Supper power
  • Technology

  • Nintendo’s trailblazing Game Boy marks 25th anniversary
  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Opinion

  • Gigi’s home
  • Palace stonewalls on MRT inquiry
  • Couple of things too
  • There is plenty of water behind Wawa Dam
  • Triduum thoughts of a young boy
  • Global Nation

  • Obama on mission to quiet Asia skeptics
  • Search for Etihad passengers launched
  • Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  • Tim Tebow’s charity hospital in Davao seen to open in 7 months
  • OFW died of Mers-CoV in Saudi Arabia, says family
    Marketplace