• Coleen Castro

A Homage to Frontliners: University to stage online concert

A Catholic educational institution in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya will stage an online concert as a way of honoring the efforts of the frontliners in the fight against the global pandemic.


Entitled Hymns of Hope and Healing (Mga Himig ng Pag-asa at Paghilom), the concert organized by Saint Mary's University (SMU)-Bayombong will feature a display of various musical categories, ranging from indigenous or folk to contemporary foreign genres, aiming to pay "homage to our brave frontliners all over the world, and for all of us in the hope for a brighter tomorrow" as its tagline goes.


The concert will be aired through streaming via the Facebook page of The MARIAN, SMU's official student publication, on November 15, 22, and 29 at 4:00 p.m.


Shot in different known tourist spots and locations in Nueva Vizcaya such as the Lower Magat Eco-tourism Park and the St. Vincent Ferrer Heritage Church, the concert will feature performances from local artists and current and former members of the SMU Chorale Society, the cultural ambassadors of goodwill of Nueva Vizcaya.


Project director Sherween Jerry Paul V. Saquing said they selected renditions that would "best embody our intention to thank our frontliners in the midst of this pandemic, and to inspire all of usthat, in the end, this too, shall pass, and we shall emerge to be a people bruised by COVID-19, yet victorious in our resilience and faith."


"The performances were shot in locations close to the heart of every Novo Vizcayano... We hope that these locations would invite people, Vizcayanos or not, to appreciate the natural wonders and the cultural richness of the province," he added.


The concert was formerly called Kantahan sa Ammungan and was supposed to be shown during the 2020 Nueva Vizcaya Grand Ammungan Festival which was, however, cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Sixty percent of the songs for the concert are Original Pinoy Music (OPM), per order of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), one of the main sponsors of the event; while the rest, according to Saquing, were their own choice, "making sure that all musical genres of general interest would be represented in the repertoire."


Local music experts Raychard Viner Matias, Raemart Ferrera, and Chardin Joseph Leopoldo V. Saquing II arranged the songs for the concert.


Performer Nicole Hope Salvador, who was also featured in Novice's second magabook, said although the video shoot was "different from normal" due to the observance of health and safety protocols, the entire experience of filming the concert was amazing as she also learned many things from her mentors during the production process.


"They will be seeing me perform the [oldies] genre that I love. The other two songs naman po I sang it to spark faith and hope kaya sana pag napanood ng mga tao, [maramdaman nila ang mga ito]," she added.


The concert was mainly sponsored by SMU, NCCA, and the Provincial Local Government of Nueva Vizcaya. Other sponsors include SVS Events and Consultancy Services; Nueva Vizcaya Provincial Tourism Office; The MARIAN; Marahuyo Films; Michael Barassi, known for his national costumes in national and international competitions; Thad Carreon, who is currently producing personal protective equipment for the frontliners; UnaDesign by Ronald Tolentino; Jasper Lannu Hair and Make-Up Artistry; and Mhaikjestic Touch by Michael Bautista.

Interviews from Allen Esteban and Hazel Buctayon

Banner and poster by James Cafirma