A Century of Stewardship for Culture and the Arts – Paterno Velez Foundation donates piano to MOGCHS

May 24, 2017

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A hundred and eight years after the Misamis Oriental General Comprehensive High School’s inauguration on December 15, 1909, the family of one of its original patrons continues its legacy of responsible stewardship to perpetuate the institution’s vision of molding patriotic and responsible citizens.

 

A monument to Apolinar Velez stands in front of the MOGCHS main building.

A monument to Apolinar Velez stands in front of the MOGCHS main building.

On the occasion of her birthday last Thursday, 18 May 2017, Ms. Marinela “Girlie” Neri Velez, President of Paterno Velez Foundation & Founder of the Marinela Neri Velez Strings Program, formally turned over a brand new Yamaha JU-109PE upright piano to the MOGCHS administration headed by principal Dr. Pedro Estaño.

 

“I am asking nothing in return for this except that you take good care of it so that more students in the future can also benefit by learning and practicing on it,” Ms. Velez said during the turnover rites held at the school’s covered court.

 

Paterno Velez Foundation Pres Marinela Velez turns over a brand new Yamaha upright piano to MOGCHS officials led by Principal Dr. Pedro Estaño (photo by Mike Baños, NPN)

Paterno Velez Foundation Pres Marinela Velez turns over a brand new Yamaha upright piano to MOGCHS officials led by Principal Dr. Pedro Estaño (photo by Mike Baños, NPN)

On hand to show their support for the project were close relatives and friends of Ms. Velez including Sol Marie Ucab, Jaime Muñoz, Jocelyn Velez, Vinny N. Veloso and Carla Q. Gerali,Yamaha sales specialist.

 

Prior to this, the same patroness of the arts donated 41 string instruments under the Marinela Neri Velez Strings Program to MOGCHS to enable musically inclined and talented students who cannot afford to buy their own instruments to hone their craft and develop their inborn talents further.

 

Two members of the MOGCHS playing two of the violins donated by Paterno Velez Foundation

Two members of the MOGCHS playing two of the violins donated by Paterno Velez Foundation

Originally a 10 year program grant meant to put together a community based strings orchestra from the public and private schools of Cagayan de Oro through a local school, Ms. Velez moved the program to MOGCHS when the first school opted to proceed in different direction.

 

Last May 9, 2017, Liceo de Cagayan University Music Conservatory Faculty Horst Hans Backer and Tullio Vidmar conducted a formal inventory of the instruments to determine what was needed to restore them to playable condition since quite a number were damaged and missing some parts.

Horst Hans Backer and Tullio Vidmar check a double bass, one of 41 stringed instruments donated by the Paterno Velez Foundation to MOGCHS

Horst Hans Backer and Tullio Vidmar check a double bass, one of 41 stringed instruments donated by the Paterno Velez Foundation to MOGCHS

 

Misamis Provincial High School, now the Misamis Oriental General Comprehensive High School was founded through initiative of the late Don Apolinar Velez Y Ramos, the first elected Governor of Misamis Province.

 

Paterno Velez was a cousin and classmate of Dr. Blas Velez, son of Gov. Velez and was a musical aficionado and choral maestro.

 

Misamis Oriental Provincial High School Class 1927

Misamis Provincial High School Class of 1927. Paterno Velez sits in the first row and third from him is his cousin Dr. Blas Ch. Velez. In the same class was Filino Neri, brother of Paterno Velez’s future wife Divina Neri, who went on to become the Philippines’ first ambassador to Japan and Jesus V. Seriña, Sr. who served as Cagayan de Oro City Mayor from 1964-1971. (photo courtesy of the Blas Ch. Velez Heritage Collection thru Ms. Jojee Yap)

“He was one of the founding fathers of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) Cagayan de Oro Church where he was a renowned conductor of the church’s Chancel Choir during the late 1960s and early 70s when worship services were still held at its former location in front of the present Pilgrim Christian College,” recalls Romie Sitoy, UCCP CDO Church elder.

 

“Mr. Velez and his sister Pura Velez Corrales, were church pillars. In fact, Mrs. Corrales was one of the big financial supporters which surprised the late Virgilio Neri during the building of the present church at Licoan during the late 70’s. When I joined the Chancel Choir in 1971, Mr. Velez was the choir conductor. I am happy that a foundation was organized in his honor for his valuable contribution to music and the successful presentation of the Philippine Madrigal Singers lately,” he added.

Members of the MOGCHS Rondalla join friends of Paterno Velez Foundation Pres Marinela Velez and MOGCHS faculty led by Dr. Pedro Estaño on the occasion of her birthday. (Photo by Mike Baños, NPN)

Members of the MOGCHS Rondalla join friends of Paterno Velez Foundation Pres Marinela Velez and MOGCHS faculty led by Dr. Pedro Estaño on the occasion of her birthday. (Photo by Mike Baños, NPN)

 

The MOGCHS was formally inaugurated on December 15, 1909 during Gov. Apolinar Velez’s term as governor of Misamis Province. During his time, classes were only open for intermediate grades, Grade 5, Grade 6, and first year high school. So students had to do either to Manila or Cebu to pursue their studies. The second, third, and fourth year were added as funds became available.

 

The First Filipino teachers in the intermediate grades included Esperanza Roa Ongpin and Juanita Fenandez -Neri. The School had its first graduates in 1922 : Pilar Gaerlan, Laureana Rabe-Canoy, Milagros Roa Solidum. Francisco Abejay, Sotero Bacas, Roque Chavez, Ernesto Fernandez, Daniel Gallarita, Clemente Galindo, Pedro Pimentel, Federico Roa and Juan Uriarte.

 

Teacher Mike Macapelit tries out the brand new Yamaha JU-109PE upright piano. (photo by Mike Baños, NPN)

Teacher Mike Macapelit tries out the brand new Yamaha JU-109PE upright piano. (photo by Mike Baños, NPN)

The early high school course included the intermediate grades but in 1932, due to an increase in enrollment and lack of school buildings, the intermediate students were separated from the high school.

 

 On June 19, 1965, RA 4247 was enacted by the 5th Congress of the Republic of the Philippines approving the conversion of the Misamis Provincial High School into a national high school, the Misamis Oriental General Comprehensive High School (MOGCHS).

 MOGCHS Seal

Plans are afoot to link the Marinela Velez Strings Program at MOGCHS through a memorandum of agreement with the Liceo Music Conservatory with the ultimate goal of expanding the base at the grassroots of classically trained musicians from which the three institutions would take their pick of the best to establish a Kagay-anon Community Orchestra.

 

 

-INDNJC-

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