Brassession: Up close and musical

It's actually spelled "Brasses-sion." With several musical accomplishments under each of their belts, the five-some from the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra's brass section set themselves out one auspicious night to play in Ortigas where I happen to work. So I pitched the idea to ze editor and won my free coverage. Livin' la vida!

Brassession. All photos by Camille Diola. Please cite Creative Commons license for use.
Their concert served as a musical journey through time and genre with brass instruments, having a repertoire that ranged from Mozart's Eine Kleine Nacht Musik to Filipino classics like Manuel Velez/Levi Celerio's Sa Kabukiran and ragtime The Entertainer up till Broadway's Overture to Annie by Strouse and Charnin and Rodgers-Hammertsein's Edelweiss.

A young audience even with no musical background, much less exposure to the canons, burst into applause at the enchanting numbers and laughed at the right time at the quintet's antics. They cheered the performances and even demanded three encores. It was a night that cut across musical tastes.

Glober Calambro on 1st trumpet
Who says that kind of crowd could only endure listening to Gagas and Biebers and, well, the roster of American Idols?

Glober Calambro who joined the Orchestra in 2007 at the ripe old age of 24 played 1st trumpet while BulakeƱo Edwin Matias on 2nd trumpet eased his veteran way through the concert. The youngest of them (and looked like it), Jay-Ar Mesa, played the French horn--an instrument where he is also principal at the Manila Symphony Orchestra. Alejandro Fernandez shone brighter than his trombone, while seasoned Benedicto dela Peret, Jr. was the most entertaining, giving more personality to the tuba than is inherent to it.

Since I've never seen a brass quintet play live before, I marveled at the idea of how individuals are called to very specific professions. For dela Peret, it was the tuba--an instrument he majored in college at the UP College of Music. Mesa, who's my age, was an Outstanding Student of the Year at our alma mater (I'm betting he got outstanding unos)  where he took up a bachelor's degree in--you guessed it--French Horn!

Heck, those of us who took up the practical arts tried not to heed veterans' warnings of a life of poverty. Then many of us still ended up pursuing more structured worlds, escaping from our genuine artistic interests for days of (relative material) plenty.

Brassesion's Alejandro Fernandez on trombone
But these musicians have dedicated themselves to a pure art form, and are absolutely happy with it, showing us that it's worth going after beauty. I remember having interviewed a struggling sculptor from Paete before who told me, "Masaya ang buhay ng artist. May gutom, pero masaya." And how many of us business sellouts can say that? #

All photos by Camille Diola, unless otherwise stated. Please cite Creative Commons license for use.