It was with pleasure and delight that Francisco B. Benitez, president of Philippine Women’s University, hosted a master class and performance of the Pacific Ambassadors Band of the US Navy 7th Fleet recently at Conrado Benitez Hall, Taft campus, Manila.
The 23-member band, the newest addition to its Far East Edition, is led by Fleet Bandmaster Lt. Geordie Kelly. They spent a few days in Manila to conduct outreach programs through music. PWU was the only school they visited.
And understandably so. Its School of Music is known to excel in arts and culture, having produced National Artists Lucrecia Kasilag, Lucrecia Urtula and Andrea Veneracion and music luminaries such as Fides Asensio, Carmencita Lozada and Odette Quesada.
As part of its outreach-extension program, dean Felicidad Prudente of the School of Music said the school offers lessons for children and adults in voice, guitar, piano, violin and other musical instruments. An ongoing program is giving violin lessons to young students of José Abad Santos Memorial School (JASMS-Manila).
Upon receipt of the notice, Prudente and Suzie Benitez of Campus Life, with professor Ariel Sta. Ana and Lief Concepcion, arranged and prepared the requirements, including the young students who attended the master classes.
Participants brought their own instruments—guitar, clarinet, drum set and trombone—and shared their talents and learned from each other.
The masters gave pointers on improving the students’ craft.
Holding the master classes were Navy musicians/officers Mart Stout, James Caliva, Duke Stuble, Trent Perrin, Daniel Weber, Anthony Chiles, Brandon Kies, Gabriel Brown and Mark Lame who, among others, took the stage and for over an hour enthralled the packed hall with their renditions of military marches, Dixieland jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and popular music.
As they had entertained hundreds of thousands of audiences throughout the Western Pacific, so did they regale the PWU community led by board chair Helena Z. Benitez.