In April this year, while on a trip to Medellin in the Philippines, I met Ric Patricio, Goducate’s agricultural consultant, who filled me in on what Goducate is doing. Since I was once the Director of Music of the Republic of Singapore Navy Band and has been guest-conductor for several musical groups, I was particularly interested in Goducate’s music program in Laguna. So in June, accompanied by Ric, I went to Laguna to see the work there. The result was a music camp planned for the short holiday break in August.
The camp was held on Aug 21-22, with me as conductor/trainer/mentor for the 43 campers.
The music camp program started with a session with the senior orchestra, made up of a weird instrument combination of violins, a viola, a cello, flutes, a clarinet and a trombone, playing music scored only for strings. The musicians worked on the pieces “Shepherd’s Hey”, “Over The Rainbow” & “Have Yourself a Very Merry Christmas” over a total of 4 sessions. I also had a couple of sessions with the junior orchestra, playing only 1st violins. In addition, I held a 2-session song-writing course for 7 musicians interested in learning about melody-writing, as well as a conducting class for 5.
The young musicians were enthusiastic and learned many new things, among which were singing the rhythm of difficult rhythmic patterns before playing them, and a new perspective about Crescendo & Decrescendo. They confronted and worked on the difficult parts instead of the easy passages. .
The camp ended with both the senior and junior orchestras giving a simple concert attended by their parents and some guests. Every camper also received some music -related gift.
At the post-camp evaluation it was decided that future music camps would be 3-day camps, and confined only to the senior orchestra. I also advised that the group be confined to just a string orchestra for the moment, since it would quite impossible to get the music scores for their present weird combination of instruments.
Peter rehearsing with the senior orchestra
Junior orchestra performing at the concert.
Our guest writer is Peter Yan, who has now been appointed music director/mentor for the Laguna music program.