SOMEONE ELSE’S WINDOWS: What the kids did this summer

MALAYBALAY CITY (21 May) – The inclement weather yesterday almost dissuaded me from watching the culminating activity of the Summer Camp Rock sponsored by the Department of Public Highways of Bukidnon where two of my three daughters joined. Anthea, who will enter 4th year high school next month, took lessons in drums while Alexandria, who just finished elementary, learned the basics of playing violin. I would have missed that rare joy of seeing and listening to what my two young girls can do onstage with their chosen instruments.

It was their first time to join the camp rock and their first time too to learn to play such instruments. Since they’re really interested to learn they would get up early as they would during schooldays to be on time for the tutorials handled by the city’s professional musicians and band players. To my relief, the tutorials were for free, saving me at least P2600, the local cost of hiring a violin teacher for two-hour daily sessions in a month.

Their participation in the camp rock also obliged me to be up earlier than I would during holidays and vacations. But I didn’t want to see their interest wane. Alexandria has always wanted to get hold of a violin but was timid to ask for one, I found out months ago when I accidentally read her personal note on a crumpled piece of paper that landed below her bed. She coped by learning to play the keyboard whenever she and Anthea visited a friend’s house in nearby Barangay Casisang.

When Alexandria finally had her own violin last Christmas she started to learn playing it through tutorials offered by the Internet. Ngek-ngak, ngek-ngak. The sound never annoyed me not simply because it came from Alexandria’s then amateur hands but also because it reminded me of one of the regrets I have about life – not having learned to play musical instruments even if I had many high school chums who played the guitar like professionals and I have a mother who knows the piano. And to think that the town where I grew up was also the hometown of Asin’s Pendong Aban. Oh my, I did not live up to our hometown’s reputation.

Anthea on the other hand approached me one day and said she would like to learn to play the drums. Why not guitar or keyboard for that matter? I asked her. I already know the guitar and keyboard, she replied.

And so on weekdays since the second week of April the two of them would go together to the DPWH compound with at least a hundred other elementary and high school students for the month-long camp rock. It was a joy seeing them go out of the house with their instruments – rain or shine. Alexandria would review the day’s lessons upon coming home. Anthea couldn’t do the same as there are no drums at home. Too expensive for me.

The big joy and surprise would come yesterday night. The organizers grouped the camp rock participants into 17 “bands” for a competition complete with trophies and a little cash prize. Both Anthea and Alexandria landed in the “advanced” category and I’m not sure how it ended that way when they’re still beginners.

Alexandria’s band, the Wild Ones, performed ahead of Anthea’s Razor Beat. Alexandria hit the notes right although she appeared shy onstage. The drummer, guitarists and keyboardists also did well. Sadly, the vocalist was tone-deaf most of the time, a thing that Alexandria often grumbled about after coming home from practice. I admire that girl’s effort though. And since she’s still young, I can always forgive her but not our neighbors who sing like frogs through the videoke.

Anthea, the only girl who was at the drums, was a revelation. She gave the male drummers a good fight with the way her sticks glided from the drums to the cymbals and back to the drums. Not close enough to Richard Starkey’s level but good enough for a parent who never had a chance to enjoy what his daughters have been able to do.

Anthea’s band placed third. It wasn’t the trophy however that made me happy but the joy written on my daughters’ faces as they and the other children bade the camp rock goodbye. A million thanks to Engr. Bobby Azura and his group for giving the children a chance to hone their musical talents at no cost to the parents. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. H. Marcos C. Mordeno can be reached at [email protected])