Strings in Harmony: La Purisima Nabua  Rondalla Shines

For the Rondalla students of La Purisima National High School, an excellent way to showcase their talents, culture, and love for music is by engaging in the art of playing Rondalla instruments.

The Nabua school group, which consists of 26 Rondalla players, has been the Division Festival champion for three years where they compete with numerous Rondalla groups from the province of Camarines Sur.  

Mark Biasa, a Band 1 bandurria player, expresses his excitement when playing the instrument, as it gives him a sense of happiness when creating music. 

“Kasi po, simula elementary pa lang po kami, natuto na po kaming tumugtog. Dahil po doon, mas lumalim na po yung interest ko na mas matuto pa ng mga musical pieces,” Biasa said in an interview with BicoldotPH.

When asked about the struggles he has encountered, Biasa shared that balancing time between rigorous training and his academic life is challenging.

“Kasi po sa Rondalla marami rin po kaming natutunan [tulad ng] teamwork, and tuwing nagco-contest po kami sa ibang lugar, natuto po kaming maging independent pero kailangan pa rin po na mag-focus rin sa academics,” he added.

Richel Mae Villas, 27, the trainer and conductor of the La Purisima National High School Rondalla, emphasizes that as a Rondalla group, they strive for excellence through dedicated and synchronized rehearsals.

“We place great emphasis on ensuring that our movements are synchronized with the dynamic nuances of each part of the music piece. This approach is rooted in our firm belief that musicality is not shaped by occasional efforts, but rather by the consistency and dedication we uphold in our craft,” she elaborated.

Villas has handled the Rondalla group at the school for almost five years since she was accepted to teach at the institution.

She shared that it was not an easy task to handle a group and motivate students to play, especially when they are studying.

In the long run, their dedication led to a significant achievement last year, as they were one of the teams representing the Bicol region in the national competition, marking a remarkable milestone in their musical journey.

The group managed to perform at the National Music Competition for Young Artists (NAMCYA), held at the Metropolitan Theater in November 2023.

“During competitions, we didn’t expect much due to challenges like time constraints and financial issues for instruments. Students prioritize exams, but despite hurdles, we always give our best performance,” Villas explained.

In recalling their journey, Villas appreciates the collaborative effort of their school head, MAPEH team, co-trainers, family, and friends who exerted effort to aid their needs during every competition.

Villas describes her Rondalla group as a ‘family’, all striving towards the goal of honing their skills and promoting Rondalla as a cherished tradition that spreads joyful music to people.

“Despite the presence of age gaps and differing perspectives, we foster a familial bond within our group, treating each other with utmost respect and care. Throughout our journey as musicians, we have encountered various challenges and triumphs. However, we confront every obstacle as a cohesive unit, drawing strength from our collective unity,” Villas added. | Alliah Jane Babila