Guests for President Rodrigo Duterte’s Fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) will be in for a unique experience as the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO), the country’s leading orchestra and one of the renowned top musical ensembles in the Asia-Pacific region, is set to welcome them as they arrive Monday at the House of Representatives for the event.
This will be the first time in history that a live symphony orchestra is set to be a part of the President’s annual address before the Joint Session of Congress.
Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) president Arsenio Lizaso said some 65 PPO musicians are preparing to perform their rendition of several classic Filipino compositions in a grand presentation to welcome current and former high government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, House members, senators, as well as their guests on July 22.
“Compared to the previous SONAs, medyo magugulat sila na mayroong Philharmonic na sasalubong sa kanila (they will be surprised that the Philharmonic is there to welcome them)…Tama doon si Director Joyce Bernal, maiiba yung SONA (Bernal is right, the SONA would be different) this year,” he said.
“This is an added something, that art will be given significance because we need that. We need to announce to the different senators and congressmen that we are around. We can be available to them,” Lizaso said, adding that the occasion may also be a great opportunity to “promote nationalistic music to the Filipinos.”
Philharmonic’s performance will be a realization of Bernal’s vision of a hopeful, lively and grand mood during this year’s SONA.
In an earlier ocular visit at the House of Representatives, the SONA’s two-time director expressed her desire for a novel perspective for Monday.
“We want it grand, sana nga may magandang music na live. Pangarap lang po ito. Kung may budget at may nanglibre, okay sana (It’s only a dream, but I hope there will be good, live music. If there is a budget or somebody would pay for it, then it could be okay),” Bernal said.
Just like last year, Bernal is directing President Duterte’s SONA for free.
And just like Bernal, Lizaso said the Philharmonic will also perform pro bono for the SONA.
“This will not incur additional expenses, libreng-libre ito para sa (it’s totally free for the) SONA,” he said.
“Ito po ay kalooban ng Cultural Center of the Philippines. Kalooban ng opisina natin na pumunta sa iba’t ibang lugar, hindi po kami naniningil (This is goodwill from the CCP. It is the goodwill of our office to go to different places, we do not charge fees) because we feel that our services belong to the people,” Lizaso said. (PNA)
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