Grade 12 Music Student Wins in International, National Guitar Tilt
Grade 12 Music student Edel Mark Bitao brought honor and pride to the school after clinching 1st place in the National Musical Competitions for Young Artists (NAMCYA) with the theme “Alab ng Musika” at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) last November 26 and 3rd place in the Saigon International Guitar Festival and Competition in Vietnam last November 10.
Saigon was a four-day competition that is comprised of three other categories: Junior, Ensemble, Local, and Open. It was open to all audiences across Southeast Asia such as Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Bitao went against 19 participants in the Junior category for the guitar competition.
He performed two musical pieces: “Variations on a Theme” by Roman composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and “Tango en Skai” by French classical guitarist and composer Roland Dyens. He came out 3rd Place.
He came back to the Philippines for NAMCYA. He passed the semi-finals held at the University of Santo Tomas and won 1st Place in the final round held at the Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino Little Theater at the CCP.
“NAMCYA is one of the most difficult music competitions in the Philippines. You need to pass in the Elimination Round, Semi-final Round, and National Finals Round,” Bitao said. “Sobrang daming NAMCYA winners na ‘di nakakakuha ng 1st Place kasi mahirap abutin ‘yung standard na gusto nila for first.”
Bitao played three pieces in NAMCYA. Two of which he had already played in his competition in Vietnam, with the addition of “Prelude Etnika” by Lucresia Kasilag, a Filipino composer who is famous for integrating indigenous Filipino music with Western influences.
Besides holding competitions, the NAMCYA regularly hosts music festivals and workshops in order to cultivate the talent of young Filipino artists. This year’s nationwide competition is the organization’s attempt to create an avenue for breakthroughs.
When he was first invited to take part in the competitions, Bitao said, “I was afraid I couldn’t do it.”
He added that prior to competing, he practiced how to manage his nervousness and even asked a good friend of his to pray for him.
During the actual competitions, however, Bitao was surprised with how calm he was. “I felt zero nervousness as I played. I was just so happy I was there.”
Sponsored by the high school department along with the College of Music, Bitao expresses his deep and heartfelt gratitude: “Thank you to my school for their unwavering support and trust in me. Thank you to my sponsors: Sir Greg Yu, Miss VInchu Lapid, and Sir Dan Lapid. Thank you Miss Menchi Mantaring for accompanying me abroad, and lastly, thank you to my family for always believing in me.”
by Angelica Joyce Roxas and Amanda Palmera