TPMES Rondalla

“May rest doon, ano ba?! Walang akong maririnig na tunog kapag may rest,” said Sir Yumang as he smashed the drumstick loudly on the board. “Ulit! Puno (Back from the start),” he said as he readied his hands to conduct.

This had always been a natural experience for every rondalla member, especially when you were a slacker who tend to miss a lot of practices. You would be scolded when you missed a note, when you plucked a wrong string or if he couldn’t hear your playing. Of course I understood those times since I know how professional musicians had trained their ears so well. I did not regret being scolded because I know I learned from it. But it seemed like many were really afraid of Sir Yumang because of this treatment, and well, I couldn’t blame them.

He also liked talking about his life, and probably, he had already retold this story twice or more. When he was young,  he told us that he was given 12 balots because he was able to play the piece that the members of the band couldn’t. He used to play trumpet, and so he continued his music career in Philippine Normal University. However, he was about to give up his studies due to financial problem when an opportunity opened for him. He was invited to work in the Department of Tourism as a musician. He must be screened first before being admitted and so during the test,  the examiner pulled a  piece randomly from a thick compilation of papers then ordered him to play it. Sir Yumang asked for a fifteen-minute practice to be prepared, and after that, he  was able to play the piece and even admitted to the solo trumpet!

I joined rondalla  when my teacher, who was also the rondalla advisor, announced that they were accepting new applicants.  I didn’t have any idea of what instruments they play so I had a dilemma of choosing one. I heard that octavina was cheaper than banduria,  so I chose octavina. But it turned out that banduria was P1100 and octavina was more expensive, probably P1200! And so that’s how I ended up with my octavina, but I have no regrets. I really like it, and it’s  easier to play since the frets are wider; my finger can comfortably travel on the fingerboard when I play.

I still continued to attend rondalla even though I already graduated from elementary. This really shows my passion and my love for it. Sir Yumang was kind; he let me attend lessons for free. But it was saddening to see that the number of active members were alarmingly dwindling. And so, the rondalla was later dissolved…

Here is the list of all the pieces I had learned. Sadly, I may have forgotten or half-forgotten some of them because I had a habit of just memorizing them by hand or by tune, and not by writing them down.

1. Paraluman
2. Somewhere My Love
3. Christmas Medley
4. God Fater
5. Ilocana a Nasudi
6. Spanish Eyes
7. Tuburan
8. Summer Polka
9. La Traviata
10. O Ilaw
11. Halina Sa Belen
12. Barcarola
13. Pobreng Alindahaw
14. Sitsiritsit
15. Lupang Hinirang
16. And I Love Her
17. Himig ng Lahi
18. Polkalina
19. Besame Mucho
20. Sway

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