Sunday, June 23, 2013

Westwood, then...we're off to the Philippines!

Hello Pinoy Jeep followers,

Again, I apologize for the late post! It's been quite a hectic week for me, traveling back and forth from Connecticut to Massachusetts then to North Carolina and back for practice, but luckily, I was able to take a break for this blog. Enjoy!

Just a little reflection from yours truly, Sierra Jamir: Westwood Performance

"He's a Pirate!" Fina
The next generation of Rondalla
"Rosas Pandan" Octavina section

Last Sunday on June 16th, we (the IP Rondalla) had our last US performance at the Westwood High School. Our full two-hour length show began at 6:00 pm and ended at almost 8:00 pm. Having arrived at the high school at 3:00 pm, face caked with makeup, pins protruding from the bun of my hair, I honestly didn't know if I was ready for the show. Throughout week, we had practiced every other day, mastering our 30 or so piece repertoire, dance routine, and on the last day, our stage presence. Nonetheless, we were nervous. Most of us had never been in a real, full-length rondalla performance before--two hours of solid rondalla playing--a feat unthinkable just a few months ago.

Tita Cris, our Rondalla Director and Founder, giving a speech

The auditorium was a cozy size. Intimate enough for the audience to see our faces, but spacious enough for the music to fill the room. Our unconventional costumes, blue, green, purple and pink, brightened the auditorium. Although a beautiful site to see, internally, all of us felt a pang of apprehension each time someone queued the next song. The whole time I was trying not to forget a dance move, forget to smile and keep my legs posed, forget my duets or step on someone else's or my own train, and I was surely not the only one thinking that. However, the audience's daring gazes kept me and my fellow members on our toes. They kept us moving, kept us smiling and enjoying and fearing our time on stage. From the awkward and intricate dance of Karaton to the last chord from Pirates of the Caribbean He's a Pirate, we acted like jittery, little kids hoping not to make a mistake but wishing to make the audience love us. In the end, we were received with gratitude, having no choice but to end the night with our encore songs, Sweet Caroline and Shipping Up to Boston.

Boys singing "Marry You" by Bruno Mars
Outside of the auditorium, I was congratulated by many of my close friends. Among them were my cousin, who took the train in from Pennsylvania to visit me, my amazing friend from France, who waited patiently for me during practices that week, my loving mother, and my fellow friend, Dr. Kantor, who had invited our Rondalla group to perform at Phillips Academy a few months before. I was warmed by their ecstatic complements and rave reviews of our performance. To be around friends and family after a day of hard work and be complemented is definitely an empowering experience.

Although practices were frequent and tiring (I am hinting mainly at those who still had class the next day), for us, Rondalla members, it is worth it.All of the performances and practices have prepared us for the long-awaited tour in the Philippines. Brown, BC, the Children's Museum, Phillips Andover Academy, Northeastern U, and now Westwood would be put into our bank of memories of the good and the bad. Anxious and the ecstatic. Past and future. Although we can never erase the feeling of nervousness each time we step foot on stage, we've definitely become more comfortable with one another, and for sure, we've improved! 

(left to right) Cousin JP Rubico, Dr. Mary Kantor,
Sierra Jamir (Me), friend Rozenn Carrio
In just 8 short days, we'll be boarding the plane to the Philippines. Honestly, I cannot put into words how fortunate we are to be traveling to our roots and performing for a no better cause than to help those in need, and it feels unbelievable that it's only in a few days!

I am confident that our group will do well. Heck, we've been forced into the spotlight for more than a year now, so it might as well be time for us to hit the road!

Next jeepney stop, Manila. We got this, so sakay na tayo!

Sierra Jamir

1 comment:

  1. Bon Voyage!! Have a wonderful time. I know you will!!