Aside from forming servant-leaders in society, San Carlos Seminary is proud to instill in her sons the indispensible love for music. Music has alaways been a part in the life of seminarians. From morning to evening, in the seminary or chapel, in the refectory during birthday greetings, during family nights or fellowships, in the dorm, anytime during the day, if one feels the urge to sing, as long as nobody gets disturbed. Music soars at the beginning of the day, with the singing of the Hymn for Lauds, and music concludes the night with a Marian song following the compline. With these, I should say, music is inextricable in the four corners of the seminary. Even in silence, music speaks in the heart.
The College Department offers 2 semesters of Music in both Formation Year and First Year.
The seminary has its own powerhouse choir, called the Optimi Choir, composed of the best singers from the three departments of the seminary. It was founded in 1953. Today, Optimi members not only do liturgical functions, but also participate in choral performances outside the seminary, even studio recording. At present, Fr. Carlo Magno Marcelo is the choir director.
There is also a music library that caters the musical needs of seminarians. Music lessons are offered – voice, piano, cello, violin, guitar, flute, etc. Choir practices take place at the library, even the Music classes of FY students
Liturgical music in the seminary is rich with the compositions from Jesuits (Honti, Manoling, Que, Ramirez, Aquino, etc).
Other songs are from SVDs (J. Nez Marcelo, Nicolas Sengson), American composers (David Haas, Bernadette Farrell, Marty Haugen, Don Moen, John Foley, Dan Schutte, Bob Dufford), from Fr. Carlo and Fr. Mimo Perez, Gen Rosso (translated from Italian to English/Tagalog), Ryan Cayabyab, and from various diocesan priests (Frs. Ronald Roberto, Lito Jopson, Steve Zabala, Omer Prieto)
My Exposure to Optimi
I am a member of the Optimi Choir since 2007 when I was a freshman in the philosophy department. My voice class is baritone, which is capable of hitting the high notes as well as the usually dry, low pitches. I experienced the gradeur of Optimi during various programs (wherein we sang) such as the 75th Birthday program of Cardinal Rosales, the Launching of May They Be One campaign of the Philippine Bible Society, 31st Catholic Mass Media Awards, PAPA Concert last Nov. 19-20, 2009, and other functions as well.
A Taste of Studio Recording
Last March 17, 2010, the Optimi Choir went to Mix Sonic Recording Studio (nearby ABS-SBN). Joining us were our vocal coach Choi “Vince” Olandesca and Karl Malay, an alumnus from the minor seminary. Ms. JAMIE RIVERA (whose hit songs are I’ve Fallen For You and Mahal Naman Kita way back 1988) was our producer. The recording took place for more than 2 hours, very tiring yet fulfilling and enjoying. The song we worked on was Lord, I Offer My Life (original by Don Moen) featuring Erik Santos and Optimi as back-up singers.