(Photo: Donald Rentiquiano/UB Media Affairs and Publications Office)
One morning last August I was singing “Go Tell It on the Mountain”. That song, I thought, must be in my consciousness. Why sing it when it is not yet Christmas? Second thought that came to my mind was singing and practicing the song when I was a freshman high school student at the University of Baguio Prep High School. That was in the ‘70s. The practice was for the annual UB Christmas Cantata.
Practice time in the gym was enjoyable – you get to hear the songs of other year levels, including the Science High School. The “Hallelujah” chorus by George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) was a classic sung by them. The late Sir Emmet Asuncion always made sure this was sung in perfection, and it was. Other mentors like Sir Maurice Bajada, Sir Antonio Burdios Sr. and others always saw to it that the notes were sung right. It was impressed upon us the solemnity of the Cantata was important, and during practices, discipline (promptness, focus) was instilled and more importantly, singing in harmony with the sopranos, tenors, bass and altos was emphasized. If I remember right, it was Sir Burdios or Sir Bajada who advised that if we don’t hear the voice of the classmate next to us, we are singing loudly, and it should not be so. Our voices should harmonize with that of others; it is not about who sings the loudest.
In that August morning, when I was singing “Go Tell It on the Mountain”, it dawned on me that all those years of practice instilled discipline and an appreciation of the classic Christmas hymns. In the lines or lyric of those hymns were messages espousing the Miracle of Christmas – the Coming of the Messiah Jesus into this world for the salvation of mankind – the message of love.
As I write this piece, I will not wonder why the thought came in an August morning. Maybe because the learning experience was wholesome, holistic, and teachers and classmates were caring. Yes, true to the lyrics of the UB Hymn “UB dear our alma mater, nest of love and care all free…”
In closing, I would like to share this verse from Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
– Dr. Grace Taguba–Bengwayan, UB Prep High School, Batch 1974-75