Music for All
Opening Remarks for the Flora Zarco Rivera Gender and Development Awards, March 25, 2016
The Flora Zarco Rivera Gender and Development Award was established by the UP College of Music in 2018 to to recognize outstanding contribution by individuals that foster women empowerment and promote children’s rights. On Mach 25, 2019, two women received the awards: Ms. Maria Lourdes Hermo, director of the Virlanie Voices comprised of abandoned, orphaned and exploited children, and Mrs Engracia Lim, the founder of the Golden Nightingale Chorale made up of senior citizens, and founder of the Open School of Music and Dance which provides free musical training for the underprivileged. The award was established in honor of music educator and conductor Prof. Flora Zarco Rivera, known best for her establishment of the children’s choir UP Cherubim and Seraphim.
Below is the short message I delivered to open the program.
Magandang umaga sa inyong lahat.
I welcome all of you this beautiful morning to the College of Music. Today we will honor the work of two individuals who have chosen to use their music to change lives of people… people who are totally unrelated to them – women, children and the elderly at risk. Two women who could have chosen to ignore the plight of others and focus on nothing but the perfection of their craft, or building a comfortable nest for their own families. After all, we musicians have always been accused of being apathetic to our social environment. These two women and the work they have accomplished prove otherwise. They embody the motto that the college has adopted: imagine, embody, engage. Imagine your music – what it can truly attain; embody your vision – because music requires discipline and without a clear vision, it is easy to give up or get lost; and engage the world because our music, our artistry, does not exist in a vacuum.
Imagine your music, embody your vision, engage the world – this call is encapsulated in the college’s agenda for extension service which we have titled Music For All. This agenda “upholds the notion that music, as a disciplined artistic expression, and an object of intellectual passion, fosters social cooperation and community solidarities. It posits that musical involvement is not a mere exhibition of skill or techniques, but an authentic human expression that offers a unique and alternative vision of life.” We have identified five working themes to pursue this vision:
1. Life-long Music Learning
We seek to provide affordable and accessible musical training to students of all ages and abilities under the non-degree offerings of the UPCMu Extension Program and other projects involving pedagogy.
2. Music for Well-being and Wholeness
We are committed to promote musical engagement as a means for fostering better physical and mental health; we are dedicated to a deeper understanding of the effects of sound and movement to mind and body, and seek to apply this knowledge as our contribution to the community.
3. Music for Emotional, Economic, and Cultural Resilience
We believe that musical engagement provides opportunities for the development of emotionally resilient individuals; that music can provide a path out of poverty; and that musical artists and scholars can assist communities in developing sound cultural programs and policies.
4. Music as Heritage
We understand that expressive forms such as literature, music and dance form part of the intangible heritage of communities upon which its members find rootedness, and thus need to be carefully documented and cared for.
5. Inclusive Music
We seek to expand music audienceship by bringing in, or reaching out to diverse viewers and listeners; we aim to emphasize the accessibility of our presentations through thoughtful, creative and informative programming and affordable or free admissions.
While this agenda is intended to benefit participants of all ages, abilities and social standing, we aim to prioritize the involvement of particular sectors of society. These include groups at risk, such as recovering patients or persons with disabilities or special conditions, as well as urban poor communities and ethnic minorities.
This morning, our two awardees chose a musical path of service to the nations weakest and most vulnerable sectors. It is the same path the Prof Flora Zarco Rivera travelled in the course of her venerable vocation as a teacher, musician, conductor and mentor. It is the same path that we want our students to face. We hope the Flora Zarco Rivera Gender and Development Award inspire our students to follow this path that fosters music for all.