Music school to host RP's first Living Trees Museum
IN HARMONY WITH NATURE
MUSIC GRADUATES OF ST. SCHOLASTICA'S COLLEGE in Manila have chosen an appropriate way to honor their beloved founder - by planting a tree.
For in the words of poet Joyce Kilmer, a tree "looks at God all day, and lifts her leafy arms to pray."
But the lovely Palawan tree honoring German nun Sister Baptista Battig will not be alone. It will be surrounded by 99 other species - all dedicated to the loved ones of alumnae and friends who sponsored the trees.
The trees will be planted today - in celebration of the School of Music's 100th year - in a three-hectare lot owned by the school in Barangay Cayumbay, Tanay, Rizal. They will form part of the country's first "Living Trees Museum."
Pianist Annie de Guzman, a member of the project's organizing committee, said they came up with the concept of a more lasting memorial because "in the Philippines, we don't have a place where you can look at trees and study them."
De Guzman, a 1960 Bachelor of Music graduate, said the museum was the off-shoot of a plan to have "100 trees for 100 years." With the help of committee chair Len Berroya, whom De Guzman described as an environmentalist, the group got the idea from art museums.
"It started with the idea that the trees would be honorific. But with the tree museum, we were hitting two birds with one stone. It's also our contribution to the environment, to the balance of nature," De Guzman said.
Berroya, she said, decided that the species would be planted in the hilly school property. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources donated seedlings indigenous to the country like molave, narra, mahogany, acacia, bignay and catmon, as well as rare ones such as Philippine teak, mangkono, balitbitan, banuyo, tindalo and batino.
For P10,000, people can adopt one of the trees. This early, 60 of the trees are already spoken for, having been adopted by nuns, teachers, alumnae and friends who named them after a predecessor or a loved one.
"Some of the alumnae bought the trees for their daughters or sons. We have a buyer who is a balikbayan. Another bought a tree to remind her of her sister-nun who passed away," said De Guzman.
"There's also another buyer whose daughter got married to a European. she has not been home for a long time so her mother bought her a tree," she added.
The P10,000 adoption fee would be used to maintain the museum.
To preserve that place, you really need maintenance. Some corporations give more. But the students, for example, who cannot afford one tree, pool their money together to be able to buy one," she said.
Each tree will have a label for easy identification. It will also bear the donor's name. A bamboo pavilion big enough for 70 people will also be constructed in the area. De Guzman said it would be called "The Shelter."
Eventually, the trees will form part of an open amphitheater which will be the venue of concerts to be staged by the school's musicians and guest artists.
"It will have a natural amphitheater. We're thinking of making it like Tanglewood, the site of a summer festival in Massachusetts, where they have concerts and music seminars," said De Guzman.
In his artist's sketch of the proposed site, landscape architect Clifford Espinos used stones as seats to maintain harmony with nature. Trees are expected to blend well with the rest of the design as wood is considered a good conductor of sound. To assist future musicians who will stage concerts, De Guzman said the alumnae also sold commemorative car plates at P2,000 to P2,500 each.
The proceeds will go into a fund for the benefit of outstanding music scholars, most of whom are learning to play the violin, said De Guzman.
"We call them Sr. Baptista's children,
kasi nagbunga na ang
kanyang efforts(because her efforts have gotten results.
You know (violinist) Jay Cayuca? He took up violin lessons
in St. Scho," she added.
It may take quite a while before the trees grow and the area becomes fully developed, but it is expected that the trees, just like good music, will pass the test of time.
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