Tuesday, March 06, 2007

the vsc and beyond

-due to some circumstances, this article should have been posted last last week
The Valentines Songwriting competition (VSC) in the 1990s was held at the Guy Hall’s music sala, with only a grand piano for accompaniment. The winner then was given a Php300 prize.

VSC’s humble beginnings pale in contrast to these past few years’ excellently extravagant preparations: the Luce Auditorium, the band and back-up singers, the outfits.

The dream just keeps getting better and better as the VSC sticks to its commitment to discover and showcase new talents, celebrating the universality of music. The entries were certainly testaments of how musically inclined we are.

Raul Navarro, chairperson for conducting at the University of the Philippines School of Music and chair of the board of judges in the February 13 VSC, commented, “It confirms that the Filipinos are very creative and musical, and that we are up to par with international standards.” He further stressed, “It also shows that we are good in interpreting the song, not just [composing it.]”

“To improve this competition for the coming years, I think the marketing strategy of the event should be much well-planned. Hopefully, a lot would join next year,” Navarro said.

This year, the song that bagged first prize was “Solace,” from mass communication junior Primy Joy Cane. The song pertained to her angst when her parents separated, and her finding comfort and assurance in her boyfriend. It was a quick favorite of a giggling crowd that night.

“I am very thankful to my boyfriend for being my solace at that time,” she said before her winning performance.

However, the chance for Sillimanians to express romantic odes didn’t come at an easy price.

The competition itself has had its own share of angst through its entire history. The years 2003 and 2004 left excited would-be participants with their hopes swirling down with the last note.

“The Sigma Mu Lambda, which organizes the VSC, during that time weren’t able to come up with a concrete goal to maintain working on the competition,” said Sigma Mu Lambda adviser Jomar Abrio. Apparently, one of the reasons production was halted in those years was that the student body didn’t work well together for it.

“Another reason for its sudden halt was the dissemination processes. There was a time when the extended deadline came; there were only six to eight entries. There was a unanimous decision not to continue with it,” Abrio added.

When it comes to future VSCs, Abrio suggested that maybe they could tap the university’s student government.

With the SG’s extensively influential arm it could reach more and more students in the campus, especially with the Council of Student Organizations.

“The music is definitely star quality and this must be the reasons for its staying power. I am sure record companies would find the songs appealing enough to mass produce,” said Noel Vallente, a mass communication junior and a disc jockey of the radio station Killerbee. “To gain more appeal to the public, the committee should hold promotional tours, let’s say, for a cause.”

Moreover, tWS writer and 2nd-runner up “Dreams” co-composer Aiken Emmanuel Quipot said that VSC could also increase its level of participation from the community.

“I would be very glad to know if COPA would open the VSC to the Dumaguete community. With this, Silliman can build relationship between other schools in the city,” Quipot expressed. “It could provide an avenue for musically-inclined students, not only Sillimanians, to share their talents.”

Learning from the lessons of the past, it’s all uphill from here for the VSC.

(photos taken by Leon Medado)

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