A sunday afternoon at CASA.

I always love going to Casa San Miguel. All those years of classical music training makes me long for more places like these, spaces that are devoted solely to producing music that inspires and encourages, and art that releases and questions. I swear I can feel musical energies pulsing through and charging me up just by the very act of walking towards the music.

Yeah, I’m artsy like that. I just repress it with all the marketing.

Last Sunday, my friend Ria and I went for a Casa San Miguel tour and lunch (it was more the cookies for me. I had never forgotten their cookies). As we got out of the car, we could already hear the strains of violins floating to us on a breeze. I’ve been to CASA several times on a professional/fan capacity, but I’ve never actually been on their formal tour of the grounds. So we took the tour, and boy, am I glad we did.

We went through the museum, the artists’ quarters and the tower room. I just wanted to sit in that museum and look at the floor and ceiling tiles because I did grow up with an architect so I’m kind of a fixture geek like that.

The best treat for me in that whole tour was when Arman, our guide, let me stand in the middle of the stage and I got to sing a couple of lines from Handel’s Lascia Chi’o Panga. I’ve sang in UN Avenue’s Philam Theater several times, and I must say that the acoustics of CASA’s little theater is almost of that same caliber. Or it may be the pretty potent smell of wood that’s clouding my judgment.

By this time it was raining too hard, so we decided to sit down in the cafe and eat a pretty decent pizza. I bored Ria by waxing poetic about how classical music is about opening up and what it meant for me to have a UP Manila Chorale scholarship, and the discipline that classical music introduced in my hedonistic life.

The students streamed in, clutching their violin cases under their shirts. And that made me smile. I remember rainy days when I was their age and I would be solidly going through my minuets and Chopin with my great-aunts’ piano.

There’s now a small shop if you walk through the gates, and lots of art. Which I just had to take photos of, of course.

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Anyway, I can go on and on about CASA, but all I really want to say is: I miss classical music. There’s nothing like the release that one gets when singing classically. Jazz and the blues are a different kind of release, more orgasmic, more raw and potent. It is about opening your heart up and cradling it in your palm. But classical music is about flying, soaring, of being released, like an arrow, straight from the heart, and on to a target.

I love that it was teenagers teaching children how to play the violin. There’s a rightness to that; Learning how to empty themselves and pass their music and knowledge forward at their age will only make them generous adults.

Anyway, here you go:

PS: I got to sit down in front of the piano inside that empty studio, and I swear I could feel the music vibrating through my fingers. This love affair with the piano must be consummated, one of these days.

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