The 35th International Bamboo Organ Festival Coming Up

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The first and last time I think I heard about the bamboo organ was back in elementary or somewhere in high school. I've never really cared to go since I thought it's just always there until I went to this press conference.

According to Fr. Leo Renier, thirty-five years ago, the bamboo organ was just there on the side of the church unused, dirty and being infested by mice and different insects. It was Fr. Mark Lessage and him who took the initiative for the restoration of the bamboo organ. The entire instrument was disassembled and shipped to Johannes Klais Orgelbau in Bonn, Germany. After the restoration in 1975, it was when the first International Bamboo Organ Festival was held.

Fr. Leo Renier
The 35th International Bamboo Organ Festival
Program Committee Head

Until this moment, Fr. Renier is still amazed with how the first festival took place. He even remembered that around 60 people showed up during the first press conference of the festival. He said that maybe it was the Marcos time where people are not free to gather news so something safe, cultural and happy like the festival is something what many reporters are looking for. He also narrated his experiences during the first festival on how he tried getting to Manila after a cancelled flight because of weather condition and a mass for the late Senator Aquino and late President Cory in Luneta causing a traffic. No matter what the situation is, the show must go on.

On its 35th year, the International Bamboo Organ will be happening on February 18 - 24, 2010 at the Las Pinas Church, Las Pinas City Philippines. Msgr. Albert Venus, President of the Bamboo Organ Foundation, Inc., said that it's a miracle on how the bamboo organ has last for this long. It's actually deteriorating everyday despite the efforts of its restoration since it's been there for 200 years! It's also declared as one of Philippines' National Treasure.

Msgr. Albert Venus
President of the Bamboo Organ Foundation, Inc.

Parish Priest of St. Joseph's Parish (Las Pinas Church)

Aside from listening to the bamboo organ being played during the festival, it's the different artists who makes the festival alive. Guy Bovet from Switzerland will be playing on the first day of the festival (February 18). It is his 6th time in the festival and Fr. Renier said that he's the organist who can make people laugh while playing the organ.

The Las Pinas Boys Choir, who won gold in an international competition in Austria will also be singing on February 18th under the baton of Mr. Armando Salarza (part of the choir before) and Fr. Renier.

Mr. Armando Salarza

Another conductor on the first night is Mr. Eudenice Palaruan who was a part of Philippine Madrigal Singers and San Miguel Philharmonic Orchestra. With these talented artists plus the original historic sound of the bamboo organ, I believe that it will feel magical to experience this.

Mr. Eudenice Palaruan

Another night not to miss during the festival is the Concert Under the Trees on February 20. This year is the Year of the Priests so for something different this year, the Singing Priests from Aklan will be serenading listeners with their soothing voice. They will surely surprise you with a romantic night under the tress and stars. The bamboo organ will still be played on that day before and after the concert.

Organist Jaroslaw Malanowicz from Czech Republic will be playing the organ on February 21 accompanied by the trumpet of Mr. Robert De Pano.

To get the complete program of the 35th International Bamboo Organ Festival, just visit here: http://www.bambooorgan.org/35th-day.html

Please support this festival since it's not just about the music and the artists of the festival but it's part of our heritage as Filipinos. This is something our country has that we should be proud of. While the bamboo organ is still existing and in good shape.

Tickets for the 35th International Bamboo Organ Festival is priced at PhP600, PhP400 and PhP200.

*All photos taken by Joyfully Yours.


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