SALUTING the country’s cultural heritage, the Philippine Research for Developing Instrumental Soloists (Predis) Children’s Orchestra held a free concert to capoff the 107th anniversary celebration of Philippine Independence.

Under conductor Mary Grace Martinez of the Manila Symphonic Orchestra, the Predis Orchestra, composed of 13 to 16 year olds, performed a wide selection of musical ensemble dominated mostly by the violin, viola, cello, and double bass. The effect was a classy yet all-too-familiar Sunday atmosphere around the Rizal Park Open-Air Auditorium.

Divided into two themes, “Philippine-made” and “Our Colonial Past”, the score began with Manuel Velez’s classic “Sa Kabukiran” in a lively beat reminiscent of the simple rural life. The next pieces told of the good years of colonization, as the fanciful Japanese children’s songs “Lullaby of Itsuki” and “Snow” livened up the air. Depicting the American occupation was Scott Joplin’s “Country Club” with its lyrical melody and amazing pizzicato (violin plucking) piece garnered much applause from the audience. “Paragon Rag”, a vaudeville piece, started off strong and ended gracefully with lull violin bowings. And for a fitting finale, Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Capriccio Espagnole” weaved Latin dance themes with a festive beat en route to a grand finish.

Dressed in their crisp Filipinianas, the young musicians played an hour-long ensemble—a worthy tribute to the country’s history—despite the low turnout, composed mostly of casual park visitors and tourists who settled on the stone benches to watch the performance.

Predis was founded in 1985 by Basilio Manalo and Sis. Mary Placid Abejo, OSB, present dean of St. Scholastica’s College of Music. Since then, the group has performed in different functions and events, producing great musicians like child violin prodigy Junior Saraza, who is now part of premiere orchestras in the Philippines

Not only on Sundays

As a joint cultural project of the National Parks Development Committee and the National Broadcasting Network, the mini-concert was also aired nationwide through Channel 4’s Concert at the Park.


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