On March 25, 2017, Saturday, hundreds of people braved the stifling heat to witness Ihudyat! 2017: A Festival of the Finest Philippine Marching Bands at the Amphitheater of University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD).
Ihudyat! 2017 is a joint project of Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), University of the Philippines Diliman Office of Initiatives for Culture and the Arts (UPD-OICA), and the UP Vanguard Makati Chapter. It featured four competing marching bands, which also happen to be the elite marching bands in the country, the Philippine Air Force, Philippine Army, Philippine Coast Guard, and Philippine Marines (Navy Fleet). Aside from these topflight bands, two guest marching bands, the Imus Youth Symphonic Band of Imus and the Citizens’ Brigade Band of Dasmariñas Cavite, displayed their skill to the viewing public.
The day of festivities started at 4pm with Academic Oval Parade. At 6pm, there was a mass singing of UP Naming Mahal and UP Vanguard Hymn at the Oblation Plaza. An hour after, the program proper started.
The highlight of the program was competition proper where the Philippine Coast Guard Band, Philippine Air Force Band, Philippine Navy Fleet: Marines Drum and Bugle Corps, and the Philippine Army Band assaulted the senses of hearing and sight of the audience with their adroit and entertaining display of musical and dance talents. (To read more about the bands, please proceed here.)
Philippine Coast Guard Band
The Philippine Coast Guard opened the competition proper bedecked in its uniform with gold and red accents. They performed several formations while playing their instruments. The high point of their number started when their shields lit up and they did more complicated formations.
Philippine Air Force Band
The Philippine Air Force Band was a crowd favorite right from the get-go. Even before they started their performance, the people at the back started shouting and whooping. The source of the cheer became evident only when the members of the band started emerging from behind the standing tarpaulin: they had masks that resembled the clones in the Star Wars films and their band conductor was dressed as Darth Vader with his baton as a lightsaber! Of course, they played the iconic soundtrack of the Star Wars series.
Eventually, the majorettes joined the fray as Princess Leia. Then, the uniforms of the clones lit up! At this point, the crowd, especially the nerd ones, must have wetted themselves with delight. 🙂
At the end of their performance, the clones and Darth Vader took their masks off to salute the crowd. It was a cracking display of abilities!
Philippine Navy Fleet: Marines Drum and Bugle Corps
The Philippine Navy Fleet: Marines Drum and Bugle Corps did not have shields or uniforms that lit up. What they had was a no-nonsense beautiful performance of a medley of some of the most beloved songs before K-Pop and autotune invaded the music charts. One of which is “Can’t Take my Eyes Off You”, a personal favorite. And just for that, they were my second favorite band that night.
Philippine Army Band
The Philippine Army Band was a visual and auditory feast. Its performance, although with a little cleaning up to do in some parts, was a masterpiece. The music sounded fresh and not monotonous nor predictable, just like the Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, and its dance steps were complicated (factoring the fact that they were also playing instruments). Their coups de grâce was the resurrection of Michael Jackson, not just one Michael Jackson, but multiples of him! Although the main Michael Jackson was obviously not a dancer, they pulled MJ’s dance moves off as a group. And of course, hearing MJ’s music was poignant. It was my favorite band of the night, and I voted for them as crowd favorite.
Imus Youth Symphonic Band
Citizens’ Brigade Band of Dasmariñas
|People’s Choice||Philippine Army Band||P250,000 (US $5000)|
|2nd Runner-up||Philippine Coast Guard Band||78.65 points||P100,000 (US $2,000)|
|1st Runner-up||Philippine Army Band||83.23 points||P200,000 (US $4,000)|
|Champion||Philippine Air Force Band||94.05 points||P500,000 (US $10,000)|