The Philippine Youth Symphonic Band (PYSB) has been on a roll, with annual concerts that incorporate various music genres—classical, folk, pop, and, most recently, jazz.
The 23 best “jazzers” were handpicked from the band’s 62 members and sent to participate in the Tokyo-Manila Jazz and Arts Festival (May 2013) at Solaire Resort and Casino. PYSB played on the same stage alongside Tokyo’s best jazz artists, namely, pianist Makoto Ozone, singer Charito Suyama, bassist Tsuyoshi Yamamoto. Manila was represented by the AMP band, Mel Villena and Noel Cabangon.
Later in the year, PYSB joined the 2nd CCP Jazz Festival (September 2013), which also featured the UP Jazz Ensemble, Indonesian group Bandung Blues Project, Italian accordionist, pianist and guitarist Fabio Turchetti, and Japanese guitarist Shun Kikuta.
It was the third time the PYSB has played at the CCP.
Its most recent concert, “Discovering Jazz with the PYSB,” was held on Nov. 9 at Whitespace, and hosted by Karen Davila.
The concert was a musical success despite the weather. It featured the band’s jazz ensemble alongside celebrated singer Bituin Escalante, who is one of the many musical benefactors of the PYSB.
The band’s fiery passion, complemented by Escalante’s electrifying presence and powerful vocals, brought smiles to the faces of jazz newbies and aficionados alike.
The repertoire included jazz standards like “Stella by Starlight,” and jazz adaptations of pop and Latin songs.
Several pieces were arranged by the late Filipino bassist Roger Herrera; the young musicians paid tribute to Herrera by carrying the torch that has been passed on to them by past legends like him.
The road to discovering jazz, as heard in “Camp 7,” the first CD of PYSB in 2004, has been quite a journey.
We realized that these young musicians were not the same kids that played 10 years ago in “Camp 7”; they had grown to be so much more.
One thing, though, remained constant—the sparkle in their eyes whenever maestro Romy San Jose whipped out his baton, a signal for them to start playing.
We can’t wait to hear what the PYSB has up its sleeve for 2014.
For inquiries, contact the Young Musicians Development Organization at 0927-3910762 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; 21/F Citibank Tower, Valero St., Salcedo Village, Makati City.