For a piano store to last 50 years in a developing country where classical music gets the least attention is a story worth telling.
Fifty years ago, on Nov. 25, 1964, Lyric Piano store came into existence. Founder was Severino Panganiban, father of today’s Lyric Piano, and Organ Corporation president Joy Alma Cristobal.
The old Panganiban ventured into piano production though he did not know how to play the instrument. An architect by profession, he was a furniture designer who became the production manager of the defunct PE Domingo Store which ventured into furniture making and piano production.
When the Domingo firm shifted to insurance, Panganiban established Flory Enterprises, the first store in the country specializing in selling imported piano parts.
Panganiban was celebrating his 88th birthday last Oct. 14 when Lyric held its 50th anniversary concert at The Tent in Rockwell, Makati City.
With the incessant prodding of his friends, Panganiban said he ventured into piano-making.
By the 1970s, Panganiban said Lyric was exporting pianos to Japan, Singapore and Malaysia. By the 1980s, Lyric was exporting to Europe, especially Spain.
“We were making some 2,000 pianos a year,” he said.
But when the peso tumbled against the dollar, Lyric stopped manufacturing pianos, and concentrated instead on selling affordable reconditioned pianos.
“Now we are a full-line music store that also sells brand new pianos, and professional audio or sound system,” Panganiban said.
Cristobal underscored Lyric’s commitment to serve the needs of the music community. She acknowledged the presence of musical icons such as Raul Sunico, president of the Cultural Center of the Philippines and dean of Conservatory of Music of University of Santo Tomas; concert pianist Ingrid Sala Sta. Maria; Anthony Say, president of the Piano Teachers Guild of the Philippines; Sr. Ma. Anunciata Santa Ana, dean of St. Paul University’s School of Music; and pianist and cultural administrator Zenas Lozada.
Cristobal said Lyric ran a music studio giving lessons on voice and various instruments.
Aside from the pianos which include brand-new Kawai and handcrafted Shigeru, Ed Seiler and Kohler and Campbell, the new Lyric Music Store carries acoustic piano, electric piano, portable keyboard, electric guitar, bass and acoustic guitars, acoustic and electric drums, acoustic and electric violins, acoustic and electric bass.
Performances were lined up to highlight Lyric’s growth and development.
On the “classical” side, Coke Bolipata and the Pundaquit Kids gave a soulful rendition of the OPM “Sana’y Wala Nang Wakas.”
Young pianist Stephen Chong mesmerized the audience with his clear, debonair rendition of Chopin’s ever-familiar Scherzo in B-Flat Minor, Op. 31.
A highlight of the performance was the participation of Lyric Music Studio Faculty Band led by vocalist Faye Reyes.
Pop singer-songwriter Johnoy Danao rendered some numbers.
Soon the stage was rocking with music played by rock bands such as Spongecola, Fuseboxx, Peso Movement and Mayonnaise.
Lyric’s golden anniversary was a fitting occasion for classical and popular musicians to come together.