Bamboo Organ Festival - February
Las Piñas, NCR
The Bamboo organ festival gives honor to the Bamboo organ, enshrined in St. Joseph Parish in Las Pinas as the only one of its kind of musical instrument. It is a celebration of the unique music that the organ produces, and a tribute to the community spirit that has succeeded in preserving it.
The Bamboo organ concert features classical and contemporary music of great musicians to be played by local and internationally known artists.
Las Pinas, has been widely recognized and celebrated as a unique musical instrument. The Bamboo Organ festival, which actually began in 1976, the year after its last restoration by Hans Gerd Klais in Germany, includes recitals of world-class organists from Europe and America and performances by the Las Pinas Boys' Choir.
Although the Bamboo organ has a limited volume and a shortened keyboard, its unusual staging from trumpets and flutes to the chirping of birds.
Every February, there are two pertinent festivals in the Philippines. The Day of Hearts, which occurs on February 14, and the International Bamboo Organ Festival, which occurs on February 15 to 25, or the third and fourth weeks of the month.
The Bamboo Organ is of the typical Spanish Baroque model. It is four meters high, and four meters wide. It contains 1,031 pipes of which 902 are made of bamboo consisting of 747 "speaking" pipes, 36 "blind" flue pipes and 119 "blind" reed pipes.
The remaining 129 pipes are composed of 112 metal pipes, 10 "speaking" reed pipes and 7 others for the "bird" stop. Amazingly, one of its tubes mimics the sound of the birds when filled with water, while another one imitates the sound of a kettledrum.
The Bamboo Organ was built in 1816 by Fr. Diego Cera dela Virgen del Carmen, an Augustinian monk from Spain who was the parish priest of Las Pinas then.
In 1829, an earthquake caused severe damage to the instrument, as a result of roof stones falling on it. Several concerted efforts were made to bring back to its original playing condition until a total restoration contract was given to Johannes Gerd Klais Orgelbau in Bonn, Germany, in 1972. The organ was shipped to Germany on July 28, 1973.
Simultaneously, a massive project to complete the church was being done this put the whole Las Pinas and neighboring communities working as one.
The Bamboo Organ's first concert was held in Germany in February 17, 1975 by Wolfgang Oehms, organist of the Trier Cathedral in Germany, before shipping it back to the country on March 16, 1975.
Since then, an annual series of concerts has been held at St. Joseph Church. This Bamboo organ cultural event has been sustained through the generous and unceasing financial support of various benefactors and parishioners through the Bamboo Organ Foundation, Inc., a non-stock, non-profit organization which aims to preserve and maintain the historic instrument.
The Bamboo Organ is a gift to the Filipino people. It has placed the Philippines on the world map of music and became a tourist attraction."
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