CALBAYOG City, Samar, Jan. 22, 2016 –Some 60 gifted high school and college students from Calbayog City, Samar intend to translate into music the theme of the forthcoming 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) in Cebu City—“Christ in you, our hope of glory” [Col. 1:27]— at the event’s opening Mass.
“We are so much excited to perform at the Eucharistic Congress. This will be our biggest event since Pope Francis’ closing Mass at the Quirino Grandstand last year,” said Fr. Marlowe A. Rosales, the musician-priest who directs and conducts the Christ the King College Youth Symphony Orchestra (CKC-YSO), in an interview.
Evangelization through music
According to him, he considers music an effective tool that anyone can use to proclaim and spread the Good News, especially to the youth.
“Many of our young people are fond of music, so it’s always a good thing if we can tap into this,” explained Rosales, adding they have been rehearsing for the IEC almost non-stop.
Aside from the opening Mass, the Franciscan shared CKC-YSO is slated to treat IEC delegates from all over the world to an evening of classical music.
Rosales said the orchestra is a brainchild of then Calbayog Bishop, now Cebu Archbishop, Jose Palma.
Through the efforts of Fr. Prisco A. Cajes, OFM, former CKC President, and Calbayognons in the United States led by Walter Rumohr and Tomas Gomez, CKC-YSO was inaugurated on the Solemnity of the Christ the King on Nov. 25, 2007 with mostly donated musical instruments.
From Calbayog and beyond
After five months of rigorous training under Rosales, the first batch of CKC-YSO had their debut concert at the Poor Clare Monastery in Calbayog City.
From its humble start, the group has since matured, receiving invitations to spread the joy of music to various places across the Philippines.
To date, it has performed at the SM Mall of Asia (MOA), the Newport Mall of Resorts World Manila, Century Park Hotel, Concert at the Park at the Open-air Auditorium, Rizal Park-Manila, Sabin Resort Hotel, Ormoc City, and at the Paco Catholic School for the Pondo ng Pinoy upon the invitation of retired Manila Archbishop Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales.
Funds raised from concerts finance the Share God’s Gift of Music Program.
This includes scholarships, values formation, and music training of CKC-YSO’s member musicians, the upgrade and maintenance of musical instruments, and outreach concerts in remote communities.
Despite its success, CKC-YSO continues to hold outreach concerts in the far-flung barangays of Calbayog City, where it all began.
Even as they entertained people in big cities like Manila, its members have never forgotten to visit remote villages, bringing orchestral music closer to barrio folks, who otherwise lack the means to experience it. (Raymond A. Sebastián / CBCP News)