The transition to the new normal brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic was unprecedented but as any adversity, we rise together as a community. With the quarantine restrictions, group rehearsals and music lessons have been suspended. After a few months on lockdown, Ang Misyon checked in with its music scholars to see how they have been doing.
We reached out to the Pacifico Family, with Lance of the Orchestra of the Filipino Youth (OFY) and Lara of Ang Misyon Children’s Orchestra (AMCO) and their mother, Mrs. Naomi Pacifico to get a more in-depth scope of their journey with Ang Misyon and how life has been since the quarantine.
Lance, at 19 years old, is a scholar at the University of the Philippines-Diliman, majoring in Cello Performance. Apart from being in the OFY, he is also a member of the Angono National Symphonic Band and plays the tuba. Before the pandemic, Lance and Lara would travel from Rizal Province to Rockwell Business Center Ortigas every Saturday for their lessons and rehearsals, but because of the lockdown restrictions, activities with the Ang Misyon Orchestras had to be conducted remotely.
Both siblings have had to manage schoolwork, music lessons and practice time while at home. Mrs. Pacifico shared that it was not easy at first, with Mr. Pacifico being away for work and their family unit of three left at home during these trying times. She had to create a schedule for Lara to follow, including time limit with gadget use and a strict bedtime, while Lance maintained his own schedule for the day and helped with housework in between.
Lance and Lara have expressed what they miss the most about being their pre-quarantine activities, which included the personal interactions at school, individual time with friends and music lessons with mentors and fellow musicians. Mrs. Pacifico also pointed out that her kids were finally adjusting to the situation and taking advantage of the time together. Lance used to live at the university dorms, but as a plus, he is now able to help Lara with her music practice.
In what ways has COVID-19 affected your schoolwork and music practice?
Lance: COVID-19 has affected my schoolwork and practicing because I’m not used to [studying and practicing] at home; I really prefer doing stuff at school or at our dorm away from our house because it’s cramped and really distracting, and I can’t focus.
Lara: Schoolwork was affected by COVID-19 because school was cut early, and I missed the most exciting event I waited for the whole school year…the Recognition Day. And opening of classes was moved to August. It is a big challenge for me. My music practice [was] affected, because I can’t attend our sectional, orchestra rehearsal and music theory class.
What is your biggest challenge during this period of quarantine?
Lance: For me my biggest challenge during this period is to study, I can’t find will to practice and study at home because I’m not yet used to this, but I’m doing my best to do so because I don’t have any choice.
Lara: My biggest challenge during this period of quarantine is to study music pieces by myself especially that I’m learning a solo piece in preparation for audition for high school at [an] art school.
What have you learned about yourself (as a person or as musician) while on lockdown?
Lance: I have learned to appreciate things more because not all things are present all the time. Such as in this situation (quarantine), it is very different from the previous everyday life that I am used to compare to this quarantine lifestyle. I tend to give not much attention on some performances, but now I really miss them, every single performance is important to me.
Lara: I learned that I need to do somethings without the help of others and I learned to value my talent during lockdown.
For the organization’s programs to be continuously successful, the partnership with the children’s parents is important. Mrs. Pacifico is one of the many constant faces seen in events and performances, her way of fully supporting her kids and the community. Through the years with Ang Misyon, she has noticed how both have continued to excel in their studies and have gained valuable qualities such as patience, punctuality, respect and collaboration with others. As a parent, she hopes that they can continue to do what they love while staying humble and thankful for their blessings.
Reflecting on the years that they have been with the program, Lance and Lara also shared some of their experiences in being scholars and how this has impacted their lives. When asked, Lance shared that “Playing music changed my view on my life, it taught me more self-discipline and appreciation of different skills of others, also it changed my view on music, before I started to learn how to play, I only prefer pop songs, I [thought] pieces with no lyrics are boring but I was wrong.”
As for Lara, she is now dreaming of being a professional Oboist performing in different places. And what is she doing to achieve this dream? “I must study hard, learn more about music and more practice,” she said. She also expressed that someday, when she is in the position to teach, she wishes to impart her talent to children who wish to learn music and she will remain grateful for being one of Ang Misyon’s many scholars.
As an older brother and already a senior member of the OFY, Lance advised “to become more patient and hardworking when studying music, and my advice to my fellow scholars and young musicians is to never lose hope in this time of need and never give up on your dreams, we will survive these hardships as long as we work together just like what we do in an orchestra.”