by EDRISSE GIANNA S. DELA CRUZ
THE STAGE is finally set after two years of virtual performances. The microphones were plugged in and the instruments were tuned.
Tunog Tomasino 2022: Stellaris Bound is now on cue.
The scene in the Buenaventura Garcia Paredes O.P. building (BGPOP) last December 5 instilled a mix of euphoria, suspense, and hope as six Thomasian bands competed live in the first battle of the bands of the annual Tunog Tomasino event.
The audience cheered and sang along through TOMCAT-UST’s official Facebook page—virtually.
Tunog Tomasino’s core concept is to rekindle Original Pinoy Music (OPM) and poetry in the hearts of the Thomasian community and give an additional platform for talented artists to share their skills and craft.
The Flame had the chance to interview performers and ask them about their preparations for this year’s Tunog Tomasino and their experience of betting a chance to perform at Paskuhan 2022.
From pre-recording and stressful editing of their virtual performances, performing live feels exhilarating for the band LUCY.
They said that performing live is not only about being seen and heard on the stage but also about being able to create music together.
“Instead of trying to perfect your performance in a pre-recorded setup, you feel the thrill and fun on stage when you and your bandmates make eye contact with each other,” Juan Raphael Pinlac said, a student from the College of Science and LUCY’s vocalist.
LUCY’s bassist Juan Arlo Perez also believes that performing live is more than being seen on the stage. “It’s also about us playing together [and] just feeling that chemistry we all share,” he said.
Meanwhile, MiLam, a newly-formed band from the Conservatory of Music, said that Tunog Tomasino allowed them to be “heard” as freshmen students.
“It’s a very surreal experience, especially as first-year students,” they added.
Education major Catherryne Gatchalian, who performed an intermission spoken-word piece titled ‘Aluin mo ang Kalungkutan,’ said she felt overwhelmed performing live after being used to online events.
“The pressure [and] seeing people live in front of you [can be really] overwhelming,” she said.
Given that the risks of COVID-19 still prevail, this year’s event was done hybrid. It was deemed negatively by the performers.
Sean Archer Abareles, a rock performer from the Conservatory of Music, said that the lack of audience felt a bit half-hearted.“[But] it was still nice to have a platform where I can show the Thomasian community my own songs and my creations,” Abareles said.
On the other hand, Jullian Tiongson, LUCY’s lead guitarist from the College of Engineering, said that performing live allows them to be spontaneous and actualize their ideas for their performances.
A voice for everyone
Performing in Tunog Tomasino indeed promotes and makes dreams come true. Like how Tiongson said that being able to perform in Tunog Tomasino became a major stepping stone for LUCY.
“To play in the studio and for the Thomasian community to hear us [perform] is such a huge opportunity,” he said.
The members of MiLam also believed that performing live on a big stage is every musician’s dream. “This is the first time that we experienced something like this,” the band said.
Gatchalian, whose main art is through spoken word, said that having the “opportunity to spotlight” her talent means a lot to her, given that she is used to “performing in platforms that are unknown to others.”
Meanwhile, Pinlac said that being able to perform in an event like this does not only mean representing their talents and their band, but also they are able to make those people and loved ones, who supported them, proud.
“It really felt good [that] we were able to represent them and make them proud […], we did this for the people who had our backs,” Pinlac said.
Like Pinlac, Abareles emphasized his joy to see many people appreciating the songs he plays and composes. “While we were performing, I [could] see the people on [the] set enjoying our performance.”
Practice makes perfect
But then again, no performance is perfected overnight as it requires constant practice. When asked about their preparation for the event, Pinlac cited the difficulty they experienced in aligning their schedules since they all come from different places with varied class schedules.
He also said that they had a total of only four hours of practice—two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening.
“Our trust in our bandmates’ capabilities became [the band’s] foundation,” said Tiongson.
Despite only rehearsing a day before the event, MiLam said that there were still parts in their performance that they needed to work on.
“Our performance went well and we also had fun [virtually] performing in front of Thomasians,” the band said.
Abareles said that he felt prepared before the event since he and his band played in gigs.
“We prepared for our backing track and we were able to push through and make [things work],” he said.
In the end, the performers thanked the people behind this event as they are able to perform and prove themselves more.
Pinlac commended their fellow bands namely Padlocked, Illumina, MiLam, Sean Archer, and Mimosa for doing a “great job” and said that they also “deserve everything.”
“If we don’t get to perform in Paskuhan, we are rooting for the bands who will,” he said.
Gatchalian said events like Tunog Tomasino prove that students are more than just the academic requirements they submit.
“Students’ talents aren’t necessarily hidden, they are just often locked in their façade as a student,” she added.
For Abareles, seeing people appreciate his rock performance was a fulfilling moment. “Even in comments in live streams, I can see that they liked the songs [we play] so it means a lot that my creations were validated.”
MiLam said that their performance for Tunog Tomasino now holds a significant part in their lives; that they performed with no regrets.
“Whatever the results may be, [this] will be a memory to remember,” the band added.
A chance to perform in Paskuhan 2022 is a common objective for aspiring Thomasian artists in competing in Tunog Tomasino, but the journey and the experience itself of bringing pride to their craft is already a victory on its own.
LUCY, Sean Archer, and Illumina were announced as the winners of Tunog Tomasino on December 9, and are expected to perform in Paskuhan 2022. F