2 August 2018, CALGARY – The City of Calgary has become the latest witness to the virtuoso performance of Iskwelahang Pilipino (IP) Rondalla of Boston. On its first stop for a four-city “Reveries and Rhythms 2018” tour of Canada, the IP Rondalla dazzled the Calgarians on 1 August 2018 with its beautiful rendition of Filipino folk songs, Philippine contemporary music, original Filipino-American compositions, and American contemporary music – all performed on bandurias and octavinas (mandolins), guitars and a double bass – at the Marlborough Park Community Centre in Northeast Calgary. The Rondalla arm of the Iskwelahang Pilipino was formed a decade after IP’s founding in 1976 by a group of Filipino parents in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, who came together to provide their children with an environment to learn about their Filipino heritage. Under the initial instruction of classical guitarist Michael Dadap of New York, IP developed its own rondalla instructional program that eventually taught its cultural school’s students and some of their parents how to play rondalla instruments imported from the Philippines. The free IP Rondalla concert in Calgary was made possible through the joint efforts of the Philippine Consulate General in Calgary and the Philippine Cultural Center Foundation (PCCF). The PCCF Sinag Kultura Performing Arts Group and IP Rondalla also had a joint performance during the show.
In his welcome remarks, Consul General Gilberto Asuque attributed the Spanish influence in the spread of rondalla music in the Philippines, which has now become part of the rich Filipino culture. Explaining that “ronda” is a Spanish word for “serenade,” he said that the IP Rondalla concert was a way of crooning the Calgarians with Filipino music.
Mr. Fred Molina, PCCF President, noted the common advocacies of PCCF and IP in spreading Filipino language and culture as he urged the Filipino-Canadians to get their children and grandchildren more involved in community events.
Among those who graced the concert were Alberta Minister of Culture and Tourism Ricardo Miranda and Japanese Consul General Shigenobu Kobayashi.
Ms. Consuelo Munar, an officer of the UP Alumni Association of Alberta, was one of those who heaped praises for the IP Rondalla’s performance. “A very talented group of musicians indeed. The performance last night (1 August) was exhilarating … the sweet beautiful sound of the rondalla filled and uplifted the soul,” she remarked.
Ms. Fe Tolentino, an immigration consultant, likened her experience to watching a “C$100-worth concert.” As its last activity in Calgary, IP Rondalla will partner with PCCF in conducting a music workshop on 3 August 2018 at the PCCF office located at Unit 206, 4656 Westwinds Drive, Northeast Calgary.
From Calgary, the 20 members of IP Rondalla will continue their Canadian tour in Edmonton (6 August), Toronto (10 August) and Winnipeg (12 and 13 August). More information about the upcoming concerts can be found from www.ipbahay.org.
The IP Rondalla has brought its talents to a wide array of audiences across the U.S., Europe and the Philippines and it has performed for several Philippine presidents. On 1 August, it came to Calgary for its first-ever performance in the city and it was enough to win the hearts of the Calgarians.