Lessons from Mam OA (late post)

Days after Mam OA’s farewell to this world, our choir went to the CCP to attend the necrological services of the national artist of music.

We arrived early to the main theater to rehearse for our part as a chorus in two of the songs and we get dressed in our usual gala uniform (aka choir dress). I never thought that it was a formal event to be attended not just by Mam OA’s family members and friends, but also by the important people in the industry. I saw famous personalities like Ms. Imelda Marcos and Ryan Cayabyab at the CCP lobby, and the theater itself is jampacked with all members of the choirs from MADZ Et Al.
As the program started, there are people sharing stories about Mam OA. Some of the MADZ Alumni turned government officials shared their story during their European tour, and there are some who shared their experience while having her as their voice mentor. We all laughed, smiled and giggled at their experiences with her. There are also some who shared their experience in realizing their talent in music. She has this gut-feel on those people who has this raw talent in music, and for that they are all grateful for they are now realizing their talent and now making their name in the industry. Her strictness, discipline and love for the craft made her one of the most-sought mentors in her time. She is, overall loved by all.
I realized so many things after I heard Mam OA. She has the heart to listen, to make one realize their love for music and the passion to excel in the craft. That is why the Philippine Madrigal Singers is born, and from her singing children born a vast number of choirs, a network called MADZ Et Al. The MADZ has been an inspiration to all of the budding choirs in all corners of the world, in which everyone wants them to be.
Another thing I realized: the strictness and the discipline that my mentors had came from Mam OA itself. She has honed them (and they are all sopranos) and make them one of the powerful sopranos during their stint with the MADZ. During the program, it makes me think, “Kaya siguro ang galing nila, dahil kay Mam OA.” It makes me appreciate all the strictness and the gruesome training that I received from them. And from that, I wanna thank them from the bottom of my heart.
After the program, I’m surprised to see my former mentor, Ate Elsie who is now conducting her own choir in Makati. I also saw my friend’s aunt, who happens to be one of the MADZ Alumnus. I heard that she’s one powerful alto at her time. Another former mentor, Mam Ana is not around at that time for UE Chorale is in Japan when it happened.
But still it was an overwhelming experience. I can’t help but to be thankful for her, for her heart in music and her life as a mentor and a mother for us all.
CDSS 2005, With the national artist of music
It’s now our turn to pay it forward, Mam OA. I’ll do my part in my own little way to pursue your dream of the Singing Philippines. Thank you again.

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