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Manila Bulletin, January 13, 2007, page C-1

A Celebration of 100 years of Music


BY SHERYL G. LAUDATO
St. Scholasticas College
School of Music will
commemorate the
centennial arrival in the
Philippines of Sr. Baptista
Battig, the nun who
formalized music
education in the country,
with a year-long
celebration dubbed,
SR. MARY PLACID ABEJO
A Celebration of 100
Years of Music (1907-2007).

CORAZON MATEO, pianist

Sr. Mary Placid Abejo, OSB, SSC dean, chairman of Battig


Foundation and Music Centennial organizing Committee, said
that the music centennial will kick off on Jan. 28
at the St. Scholasticas College campus in
Singalong.
Highlights include a light musical titled, "The
Music Plays On," featuring SSC Music graduates
batch 1948-1957; a homecoming lunch at the
social hall; and "A Tribute to Sr. Baptista Battig"
concert with the SSC String Orchestra.
Activities lined up for the year are:
"Lunchtime Concert Series" tour at Guagua,
Pampanga, in February, and in Las Pias in March;
"Helen Quach Concert with MSO II" music
education seminar workshops on April; "Music
for the People Workshop and Concert" in May;
a free-concert at LRT and MRT major stations in
June; "100 Years of Music" exhibit in August;
groundbreaking of the Sr. Baptista Battig Hall in
September; planting of 100 trees at Tanay,
Rizal, on Oct. 1.

GRACE AFRICAGATCHALIAN, SSC


Music Alumnae Ass. VP.

PRISCILLA DELA
FUENTE-SISON, SSC
Music Alumnae Ass. Pres.

Capping the centennial celebrations is the "St.


Cecilias Concert" slated on Nov. 25, 2007.
DELLA BESA, alumna

ANNIE DE GUZMAN,
music centennial committee

In a press conference held at the Priory reception room of SSC, Phil. Research for the Development of
Instrumental Soloists (PREDIS) member Jascha Obieta, 7, performed on the violin the
"Hungarian Dance #5" accompanied by pianist Greg Zuniega.
Soprano Marianne Miguel, 22, sang "Think of Me," while 86-year-old
pianist Corazon Mateo, who was coached by Sr. Battig, played the
piece "Romance."
Pianist Della Besa, alumna, discussed the history of the SSC School of
Music which was founded by Sr. Battig in 1907.
"The first five Missionary Benedictine Sisters arrived in Manila on
Sept 14, 1906, and established St. Scholasticas College on Calle
Moriones, Tondo, on Dec. 3. They were looking for a source of income
to augment their meager funds so they thought of offering voice/dance
lessons, and playing musical instruments to children. They wrote a
letter of request to their Motherhouse, and asked to send a piano
teacher in Manila and she was Sr. Baptista Battig," related Della.
Born in Creslau, Silesia, on Aug. 9, 1870, Sr. Battig was an accomplished
concert pianist before she entered the convent on
Oct. 7, 1902.

MARIANNE V. MIGUEL,
soprano

She studied under the famous pedagogue Ludwig


Deppe.
Sr. Battig was given the name of Sr. Baptista,
coined from the name Helena, when she made her
Benedictine vows on Feb. 8, 1907.
When Sr. Battig arrived in the Philippines on Oct.
1, 1907, she gave piano lessons to young girls with
the assistance of German national Augustus
Gnandt.
A resident of Manila, Augustus acted as Sr. Battigs
godfather during her stay in the country.
Sr. Battig became a famous music teacher in SSC.
JASCHA P. OBIETA, violinist & pianist Greg
Years later, due to limited space SSC moved from
Zuniega
Moriones, Tondo, to San Marcelino, to its present
site a then a snake-infested swampland in Singalong.
Faced with mounting financial costs, the nuns got the permission for Sr. Battig to hold a fund-raising
concert on Jan. 9, 1910.
The audience was impressed with her virtuoso performance which not only brought in funding for the
school, but also fame for Sr. Battig. This resulted in an increase of SSC enrollees.
Sr. Battig passed on to her students the musical artistry she learned from Ludwig Deppe who,
according to her, "had taught me everything on the piano the scale and the grace of God."

Sr. Battig also formulated a definite course with standardized curriculum (with lessons in music
sciences and academic subjects) that gave the graduates a degree and professional status.
She then established St. Cecilias Hall as an important concert venue.
Sr. Battig spent 34 years as head of the School of Music. She died on Jan. 26, 1942, during the
Japanese Occupation. She was 72.
Succeeding her as dean during the war was Sr. Regintrudis Mayer (19425) and Sr. Gunfrida Schneyer
(1946-60).
It was during St. Schneyers term that the reconstruction of the music school begun, which took
almost 10 years, the time when St. Cecilias Hall was revived.
Composition recitals started under the tutelage of Lucio D. San Pedro (later named National Artist for
Music), and lay teachers were sent for studies in France at the summer school of the American
University of Fountainbleau.
In 1960, a new course was offered for classroom music teachers leading to a bachelor of music
education.
Sr. Mary Placid Abejo, who holds a doctorate degree in music education, became its dean in 1976.
Together with Prof. Basilio Manalo, Sr. Mary helped found the PREDIS Chamber Orchestra, which is
now involved with Manila Symphony Orchestra II.
Today, Sr. Mary continues to spearhead efforts to expand and update the school that began with one
teacher and one secondhand piano in Calle Moriones, Tondo.
"A Celebration of 100 Years of Music" is a joint effort between St. Scholasticas College School of Music
and Battig Foundation.