CEBU City’s new symphony orchestra is the Classic Youth Orchestra (CYO). It was recently launched with an inagural concert at Centerstage, SM Seaside City, Cebu City.
Composed of young musicians who are students of the Classic Orchestra Studio, it is conducted by its founding music director, Reynaldo Abellana, who runs the studio.
The audience came in droves and filled up the hall that seated 800. The turnout attested to the Cebuanos’ liking for symphonic music, manifested by the institution of Cebu Youth Symphony Orchestra (CYSO) in 1995 by the Salvador and Pilar Sala Foundation Inc. (SPSFI)
Ethel Natera said the CYO should sustain the symphonic tradition set by CYSO.
Abellana was a former scholar of the SPSFI. He and his classmates enlivened the musical environment of the city by establishing music schools, and eventually put up the orchestra.
The concert lined up a light classic program for the symphonic rendition. Complementing it were collaborative works for the piano, a singer and a choir.
“I have retired from the concert stage,” said pianist Ingrid Sala Santamaria, who chaired the SPSFI, “but I made Abellana’s plea for me to play with the orchestra an exception, considering that he was an outstanding alumnus of the foundation, who benefited much from the training he got from its program.”
Moreover, it was her desire to see a symphony orchestra become a permanent part of the city’s musical environment that she acceded to Abellana’s request.
The program opened with the rendition of Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 16.
Playing on a baby grand piano lent by Lyric Pianos, Santamaria knew the concerto by heart, having played it several times in the “Romantic Piano Concerto Journey Tours” with the late guru, pianist Reynaldo G. Reyes, her mentor.
Expectedly the rendition went on spontaneously and sounded well polished, as kinks were ironed out in the rehearsal the night before. The musicians played their parts well. Solo passages for the horn in the second movement, the flute and the trumpets in the last movement were sounded with élan.
The audience had a grand moment of leisurely Sunday listening in CYO’s rendition of light music such as Green’s Overture on Philippine Folksongs; Anderson’s “The Syncopated Clock,” “Fiddle Faddle”; and John Williams’ “Superman” theme.
Little Toddlers and the CYO Junior Ensemble performed the nursery song “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and Bach’s Minuet (1,2,3), respectively.
Baritone Kellie Go Ko mesmerized the audience with his superb rendition of Bernstein’s “Tonight” and Lara’s ”Granada.” His lyric baritone soared handsomely in the high register.
The Cebu Normal University conducted by Darlane-Angus Yap impressed the audience with its superb rendition of “One Day More” from “Les Misérables.”
In all these renditions, Abellana wielded the baton authoritatively, inspiring the orchestra to perform well without any letup.
Santamaria commended Abellana’s heroic and noble deed of putting up the orchestra.
She had taken time out from her hectic schedule of recording four more piano concertos— Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1; Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No.1; Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto; and Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No. 2.
Truly, Santamaria said, a legacy for the Cebuanos had been bequeathed, as the symphonic tradition was now being continued, a trail that was initially blazed by the SPSFI.