Lukans Deliver a Message of Social Relevance in MGMR 2019
by Dianne Cunanan and Ross Negrillo
The St. Luke’s Medical Center College of Medicine (SLMCCM), represented by SLMCCM Chorale and St. Luke’s Dance Company (SLDC), delivered performances with social relevance as they competed with other medical schools in MedGroove MedRhytmia (MGMR): Alpas 2019 last January 19 at Aliw Theater.
With the theme Societal Pressure, defined as the expectations of the society on an individual that influences one’s values, beliefs and behavior, SLMCCM Chorale and SLDC conceptualized their routines to portray an image of individuals conforming on the society’s set of standards.
SLDC breaks the chains
SLDC’s Med Groove performance revolved around a female protagonist who was imprisoned but has survived and was given a second chance to make up for the time she had lost during imprisonment. However, she seemed to have this persisting ex-convict label imprinted on her forehead. This was highlighted in the second scene when she got rejected in a job application. Nevertheless, the third scene demonstrated how a small support system can have a big impact. As the protagonist tried to fix herself, she had the guts to face her family only to be renounced by her father. This circumstance led her to realize that she might have been freed from the chains and bars but she still has not attained freedom from societal judgment. The last scene depicted the peak of the story as the protagonist further gives in to social pressures. The performance ended with the protagonist pointing with a gun as she pulls the trigger, waiting to kill.
According to SLDC, the story was open ended for two main reasons. First, they wanted to imply that societal problems are not a one-day fix and that not everything leads to a happy ending. Second, open endings serve as an avenue for the audience to reflect on possible outcomes of a certain action.
Despite the hectic schedules as medical students, active SLDC members devoted around one month for conceptualization. This year’s SLDC President, Beah Banatlao, described MGMR as the toughest thing she had to face as a medical student. She also emphasized that everything was a hundred percent worth the time and efforts because she gained a family in SLDC; Banatlao considers this as a very humbling experience.
Meanwhile, the SLDC Productions Team gave as much dedication, if not more, because of their time and efforts behind the scenes. Gi Penetrante, a DC Prod member, said, “Ipon joining MGMR, I have witnessed a living definition of the terms cooperation and teamwork. Everybody in this family has each other’s back no matter what and that exemplifies the true meaning of being a Lukan.”
Dominik Arceo, Internals Vice President, also talked about his breathtaking journey with a bittersweet ending. Above anything, he expressed his gratitude to the SLDC officers who he has worked with for the past months, as well as to the performers and productions team for giving their whole heart, soul, time, and money that made the performance possible. He also mentioned the support of the Lukan Administration, the Student Council, especially the Externals, and Arts and Promotion Committee, and the whole Lukan Community. “We felt the support all the way from the audience to the stage. It was the best sound that we could ever hear in this experience,” he added.
SLMCCM Chorale raps the voices of the marginalized sectors
SLMCCM Chorale’s performance was judged based on their rendition of the predetermined Contest Piece which is 60% of the total score, and their own Chosen Piece which comprises the remaining 40%.
The Contest Piece entitled “The Heart’s Reflection” or Cordis speculum, composed and arranged by Daniel Elder, is a proverbial verse that tells about the reflection of one’s face in the water is similar to the reflection of his/her character. Meanwhile, the Chosen Piece was a medley of Gloc-9 songs, arranged by Robert Delgado, a senior resident arranger of the UP Madrigal Singers, a highly-esteemed and world-class choir in the country.
The Chorale protested gender equality in their song Sirena, relayed by the story of a boy beaten by his father for his sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression. In their song Magdalena, they narrated the story of a sex worker and the call for de-stigmatization of their occupation. They lamented the lack of job opportunities, low income, and brain drain as they sing in reggae the plight of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) in the song Walang Natira. They also called out corrupt politicians in their song Upuan to emphasize the importance of honesty and integrity in governing the country and their role in alleviating poverty. In their song Lando, they highlighted poverty as an underlying factor of crime while simulating the scene of rain, thunder, and wind seen in the original music video. Finally, they delivered the resolution and send a message of hope as they end their performance with high notes of Tsinelas sa Putikan.
“We opted to stay true to ourselves and embrace this year’s theme for MedRhythmia by breaking free from the conventional choral music while addressing societal pressures in our country, thus, the Gloc-9 Medley was born,” said Mary Denise Joaquin, president of the group, in her post.
According to her, despite the lack of experience of the majority of the members, their heart and enthusiasm for music enabled them to get their message across.
Choirmaster Ivan Arthur Decano also expressed how proud he is of the growth of the members of the Chorale from their auditions until their MGMR performance.
“As the choirmaster, it was not my job to mind what the judges and the audience think of us; it is literally not them who I am facing during the performance. I am looking at every member of the Chorale, how they pour their hearts our into the song, how they sing and rap with much enthusiasm, and how the whole Chorale is singing as one. No score, title, or trophy would be enough to award that,” he enunciated.
Subsequently, Gloc-9 recognized the performance of the chorale in his official Facebook page and said, “Maraming salamat po, St. Luke’s Medical Center College of Medicine Chorale,”
University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center, Inc. (UERMMMCI) was crowned as champions in both MedGroove and MedRhythmia. UP College of Medicine (UPCM) and Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health (ASMPH) bagged 1st and 2nd Runner Up, respectively, for MedGroove. For MedRhythmia, the Adventist University of the Philippines College of Medicine (AUP-COM) placed second and St. Luke’s Medical Center College of Medicine placed third.
Since 2015, St. Luke’s Medical Center College of Medicine never stepped out of the podium in MGMR, having two in MedGroove and three cumulative podium finishes in MedRhythmia.