As we look forward to a new year, we normally plot ahead our schedules, travels, performances, and everything that has to do with going outside the comforts of our home. We aspire to become better in terms of percussion playing and teaching. To that end, the Philippines’ first Day of Percussion was scheduled for September 2020, but who would have thought that we’d find ourselves locked up indoors, with nowhere to go or perform and with limited or no access to percussion instruments at all. No one was prepared for this, but as PAS members, our choice was to find ways to continue to inspire, educate, and support drummers and percussionists as best as we could. We are beyond grateful to Chris Hanning (PAS President) and Joshua Simonds (PAS Executive Director) for helping and allowing us to conduct the first virtual Days of Percussion. Special thanks also to Justin Ramirez, who has served us as our communication channel since our chapter was established in 2019.
The first virtual Days of Percussion was streamed live via Zoom and Facebook for eight consecutive days (May 30 to June 6) and consisted of nine events that highlighted different percussion specialties. Its pilot episode, Deliberate Practice and Complementary Percussion by Zara Lachica, gave emphasis on how to dive into the details of the music by applying some practice strategies to standard orchestral excerpts and provided general playing tips/techniques for the tambourine and triangle.
Despite the limitations online, Ryan Peralta was able to facilitate a Virtual Drum Circle by encouraging the audience to prepare improvised instruments to be used for the live loops. Isaac De Alva III discussed the culture and performance practice of the drumline community through his topic, Rudimental Drumming: Drumline.
Versatility and thinking outside the box were some of the key points in Gian Vergel’s discussion on Percussion and Drum Set Playing in the Music Business. Tusa Montes shared about the applications of the Kulintang (gongs) in Maguindanao and fusion music through her topic, Exploration on the Philippine Kulintang. Mar Dizon prepared a tribute for his friend, by performing several compositions by Bob Aves on drum set.
A panel discussion titled Situation of Drummers During the Pandemic was hosted by Lexter Deo Santos and composed of university students and esteemed professional players as panelists. Refining our basics is perhaps one of the activities that can keep us busy these days, and Cyd Tumpalan’s topic, Snare Drum Fundamentals, was able to inspire us to begin. The Days of Percussion closed with Timpani and Keyboard Mallets by Gip Chan, which provided the essentials on how to perform efficiently on timpani, marimba, and xylophone.
In addition to the nine events, we included a virtual products expo which aimed to promote several businesses owned and managed by our friends and colleagues, including Percussion Access, GDV Productions, and Marching Merch. A short video message from Henry Go of Innovative Percussion was featured as well.
We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to our guests who took part in this event: Sol Bautista, Nimon Noer, JQ Quirino, Lester Esteban, Bo Razon, Junjun Regalado, Joseph Concepcion, Janno Clarito, Alexis Constantino (ABSCBN Philharmonic Orchestra), Ederic Sampedro (Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra), Allan Abdullah, Roby Calderon (Manila Symphony Orchestra), Karmi Santiago, Mark Hipona (Manila Philharmonic Orchestra), Gabriel Zagala, and Gin Garcia.
We also recognize and thank those who showed their support by sending their video messages and/or performances: Todd Sucherman, Yun-Ju Pan, Wannapha Yannavut (Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra), Tanmay Mukherjee, Dave Stark (PAS Education Committee), Cara Wildman, and Mark Stone (Chair of PAS World Percussion Committee).
Above all, our sincere appreciation goes out to Arthur Lipner and John Wooton, who spent their time with us live (Philippine Time).
With five individuals involved with the logistics and production, delivering an eight-day online program was never easy. We embraced the “new normal” with regards to the use of technology platforms and applications. We adapted to whatever was feasible for everyone—the speakers, guests and broadcast team (Ryan Peralta, Lexter Deo Santos and officers)—to make collaboration work. Our efforts paid off in the positive feedback that we received from the viewers. Ultimately, the impact of this virtual Days of Percussion is tantamount to the hope and joy that we need in this new era.
The PAS Philippines Chapter Officers are Saturnino Tiamson Jr. (President), Isaac De Alva III (Vice President), and Zara Lachica (Secretary/Treasurer).
Zara Lachica obtained her Master of Arts in Music Performance degree from the University of Santo Tomas Graduate School. In 2018, she performed in the Asia Orchestra Week held in Tokyo, Japan, and she has conducted percussion seminars/workshops in several prestigious schools in the Philippines. Zara is a guest musician of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra and was the percussionist in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical staged in Manila. Zara attended the Korean Orchestral Percussion Symposium held in Seoul, South Korea. She is one of the speakers in the first virtual Days of Percussion presented by the Philippines PAS Chapter. At present, she is a faculty member at the Everest Academy Manila.