Lovers and patrons of music, culture and the arts would surely be pleased about the formation of a professional symphony orchestra in our city. The Cebu Classic Orchestra (CCO) was formed in March 2011, by a group of classical musicians based in Cebu. Most of them were members of the Cebu Youth Symphony Orchestra (CYSO) and Peace Philharmonic Philippines (PPP), while the others were second-generation musicians trained by original members of the CYSO and PPP.
The orchestra envisions that Cebu will join the ranks of Boston, New York, and Tokyo, where well-known symphony orchestras can be found. Through performances in different venues and social events in our community, it hopes to revive the popularity of and appreciation for classical music. Those responsible for organizing the musicians’ group are Reynaldo Abellana (former member of the San Miguel Philharmonic Orchestra, Manila Philharmonic Orchestra and CYSO), Francis Balo (former member of the SMPO, MPO, Manila Youth Symphony Orchestra, and CYSO), Marc Hamlet Mercado (former member and concertmaster of the PPP and CYSO), Prof. Roberto del Rosario (conductor/composer/arranger of CYSO/PPP and choir trainor for USC and USP), and Engr. & Mrs. Renato Kintanar.
The CCO musicians come from four generations:
First generation – former members of the first Cebu Symphony Orchestra
Second generation – former members of CYSO
Third generation – on-call members of PPP
Fourth generation – advanced students of the second- and third-generation musicians
The first rehearsal was held on May 1, 2011, and since then, they have met at least once a week. In July 2011, a decision was made to rename the group to Cebu Symphony Orchestra (CSO) and revive the first orchestra in Cebu.
The first-generation CSO was established in 1980. Because of a lack of support and the exodus of some members, the symphony didn’t survive very long, except for the string section, which met regularly up to the year 2000 and adopted the name Cebu Executive String Ensemble.
After thirty years of hibernation, a handful of the original members are still around. Only four are still actively participating in the activities of the present CSO. They are Mr. Virgilio Ylaya, Mrs. Naila Beltran, Engr. Renato Kintanar, and Dr. Bonifacio Cabahug Jr., and they serve as the link between the old CSO and the newly rejuvenated CSO.
The orchestra is set to debut in its official launching concert on December 10, 2011, with a 3 p.m. matinee and 8 p.m. gala at Cebu Cultural Center (UP Lahug), under the baton of Prof. Roberto del Rosario, musical director and conductor, plus Ingrid Sala Santamaria as piano soloist. The matinee concert is already sold out.
As a newly formed organization, the CSO is seeking the help of individuals, groups, foundations, or business entities who are willing to sponsor it for the launching concert and for the duration while it is still starting to generate its own resources. For your queries and for additional information, you may get in touch with the CSO business manager through telephone numbers (0926)747-8441, (0932)939-7120 and (032)254-1452 or by sending [email protected] an e-mail. You can learn more about the CSO from its Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cebu-Symphony-Orchestra/229386273770442