1. What musical event in UP do you look forward to or regularly attend? Why?
Two worth mentioning here in UP Baguio are, first, the Baguio Summer Arts Festival, which for 30 years now has offered various seminars on arts, music, and dance. The second is the UPB Pasiklaban. Both events have become the university’s way of giving back to the community, be it in providing free education on indigenous music and dance for young people who want to learn about their culture, or just simply for the sheer joy of sharing musical talents with a larger audience in the spirit of togetherness and celebration.
2. Name one or two composers, performers (individual or group), or mentors from UP who have largely contributed to Philippine music. Discuss briefly his or her contributions.
May I hit close to home on this one. UP Baguio is blessed with two individuals who have upheld and inspired a tradition of music for the community.
Dean Arellano “Toto” Colongon Jr. of the College of Social Sciences, since his days as a student up to his present stint as college dean, has composed numerous musical pieces and plays for the UPB community.
Prof. Bienvenido Tapang, affectionately known in the community as “Lolo Ben,” has been the University’s honorary choir master and musical events producer. His efforts have led to the development and improvement of the UPB Choir, Tinig Amianan, making the group one of the premier choirs in the North.
3. Aside from the current program offerings of the College of Music, what else,do you think, should the college offer or promote?
Music is all encompassing, especially for communities. The promotion of music from indigenous communities should be dealt with in such a way that these are not regarded as being frozen in time, as mere mementos of a musical past. They should instead be seen as active elements in the development of what Philippine Music is and will be. Be they songs about delivering vegetables on Halsema highway, or a young Kankanaey man’s laments for a lost love sung in a dimly lit karaoke bar—expressed neither in gong nor solibao but in overdriven guitars and drums—these still embody identity and a culture that is vibrant and alive.