McClosky Concert, 2008
McCLOSKY IN MANILA, PHILIPPINES
Lin Wallin Schuller, CMVT
On October 27-29, 2008, the first McClosky Institute of Voice Seminar was presented in Manila, Philippines. Through the diligent, thorough planning of our newly certified colleague, Katherine “Kitchy” Molina, every detail was organized to create a most memorable and exciting teaching experience. “Teacher Kitchy” is well known in Philippines because a couple of years ago, she was invited to work with the voices of singers in their version of “American Idol.” It seems many of them lost their voices and Kitchy helped many of them to improve their singing. Because her work with them was on television, she is recognized everywhere.
After very long flights from Boston to Manila (Oct. 23rd to Oct. 25 – International Dateline crossing), John and I were greeted by a young man, with a sign bearing our name, who helped us through customs and the baggage retrieval. After 21 hours of flying time that was a most welcome, unexpected experience. When we were taken beyond the baggage area, there was Kitchy with her wonderful smile and her camera to welcome us.
Our colleague, Priscilla Magdamo, was at the hotel when we arrived where we had a great reunion. That was followed by the arrival of Mary K. Wilson our new CMVT from Florida. We all spent some time catching up on sleep and preparing for the seminar experience. In our first morning in the hotel, as we entered the dining room, we were greeted by a young waiter who was so excited to see “teacher Kitchy” that we were given outstanding service. He stood in front of us and did his breathing and relaxation exercises!
That same day we had an opportunity to meet Kitchy’s husband, Antonio “Bong” and their four wonderful children. Her eldest son, Gabriel, was in my small group at the seminar. He is a very nice young man with a fine voice.
On October 26th we were taken to the lovely grounds of the venue where the seminar was to take place. After unpacking in our pleasant quarters, we ventured out for dinner in a restaurant on the campus. Next morning we were all up bright, early and eager for the seminar to begin. As an aside, I need to say that every meal featured an enormous array of choices and was served buffet style. Not only did we have three meals a day but “breaks” in the morning included sandwiches, pastries in abundance and afternoon “breaks” would have more sandwiches, pastries and soups. How can they stay so thin and eat that much? I’ll never figure that out.
There were twenty two participants in attendance and, I must say, that I have never felt so exhilarated by a seminar in all the years I have taught. The people were very friendly, warm and open to everything McClosky has to offer. There were voice teachers, voice students, heads of the Education Department, and other singers. Filipinos love to sing and they all worked on their posture, breath and relaxation and made wonderful progress in the short time we were there.
All of the lectures were very well received by the participants. I want to thank Kitchy, Priscilla and Mary K for presenting well-prepared lectures, delivered with confidence, clarity and winning personalities. They all did very professional work and inspired confidence in the participants. The small group sessions all reported wonderful changes as students began to sing and speak with better technique. McClosky Institute of Voice should be justifiably proud of your ambassadors in Manila.
The high point of the seminar was the final lecture, “How To Practice,” given by Priscilla. She was masterful in her presentation of the techniques and participants responded very well as she taught them a lovely, obscure lullaby which she had discovered in her travels in the outlying islands of the Philippines. (Priscilla was born in the Philippines and annually travels back to bring music to schools that don’t have teachers of music. She also has collected many native pieces that would have been lost. An amazing woman!) As the participants were singing, they were working on posture, checking their breathing and areas of relaxation. The sound of their singing as they broke into extemporaneous harmonies was extraordinary. There were no dry eyes as we watched and listened.
As we presented the Certificates of Attendance at the conclusion of the Seminar, the teachers were lined up in front of the participants and they were called up one at a time. The participants broke into song as each person walked up to receive their certificate. It was so heartwarming and exciting.
When that ended, there was much time spent with picture-taking all over the place – cameras flashing, videos cranking, much talking and hugging.
There was no doubt in the minds of participants or CMVTs that we had been part of an amazing connection of ideas and people. I will be ever grateful first for the wonderful techniques of David Blair McClosky, but also for the wonderful people we have who are teaching, not only in the United States and Canada, but now in Asia. I have a dream that someday, Manila will be the headquarters in Asia for the Regional Certification Program. Wouldn’t that be something! The need is there and we know how effective our work is.
Special thanks to Kitchy for her vision of a Seminar in Manila and the ability to persevere until it became a reality. Her husband, Bong, was a staunch supporter of her efforts and we enjoyed spending time with him when we did some touring following the seminar. Thank you to both of you for making us feel so welcome, for sharing your time with us and for being the wonderful people you are.