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Saturday, July 31, 2010

How the CIM Hymn (Latest Arrangement) was Made

The original CIM Hymn was made by Dr. Rene Sitoy, a CIM alumnus and the original song was preserved in a recording made in an old cassette tape kept by the school.

Listening to the original recording, you would hear a single male singer delivering the lines of the song in its entirety accompanied by instruments which you can easily determine to be that used in the music recordings of the past. The song was quite long as the whole lyrics were sang twice, plus a coda part (if I remember it correctly).

Anyway, it was around the end of 2006 or start of 2007 and Cebu Institute of Medicine (CIM) was about to celebrate its 50th year. Preparations were all under way but something was missing...

Flashback during the early elementary days...Everytime there was a flag ceremony in the University of San Carlos Girls High and Boys High where I spent some of my early years, the USC Hymn was always played and sang. Everytime there is an event, the USC Hymn was sang.

Going back to the present...I still memorize the USC Hymn even if I was not a graduate of the said university.

I also noticed how my University of the Philippines professor for Masters in Health Professions Education subjects (Dr. Nem Fajutagana) beamed with pride whenever the "UP Naming Mahal" was played in his laptop. He would even let us hear it using his speaker.

I said to myself it would be nice to have a definite identity for the school, a theme or hymn that will showcase the school's pride...a song an alumni will feel like singing announcing to the world that he is an alumni of the school.

Before, the original CIM Hymn was seldom played even on occasions. (USC Hymn was even played daily why not our own school hymn during events?)

There was already this original CIM Hymn by Dr. Sitoy. It was truly a nice song with meaningful lyrics. But it was not easily reproducible since it was on cassette tape and was quite long to be played after the national anthem. The instruments also need to be updated to the times to appeal to the younger generation.

Thus the idea of a new arrangement for the CIM Hymn was born.

I suggested to the administration the plan for a new arrangement in time for the launch of the Golden Jubillee. I asked for their permission and financial support to rearrange and record anew the song by Dr. Sitoy. And they approved. I saw the beauty of the melody and the lyrics of the song and in respect for Dr. Sitoy, I did not alter the lyrics and the melody per se although there were still modifications to fit the times.

I went to a music studio and told them what I envisioned the song to sound like. The USC Hymn, Lupang Hinirang and UP Naming Mahal were actually the inspiration behind the arrangement.

I wanted it to be something that doesn't sound like a march but is actually a march with an accompanying orchestra of sorts and variations in the volume of the instruments during transitions. I did not want it to be too slow a march but not also too fast as in the original tempo of the Lupang Hinirang.

Like the USC Hymn, I wanted it to be solemn with flowing moments gradually building up to the climax of the song where the tempo is slower, deliberate but more powerful. (I did not have a proper formal Music education and training so forgive me for my use of musical terms).

I was working with the owner of the music studio figuring out the best mix. Luckily, the music studio got what I wanted after experimenting with various sounds and music with the synthesizer. We finally just got the proper mix. The minus one was ready and all I need is to assemble the group of singer-doctors. I got enough people to sing the song.

The "choir" members for the Hymn were me (Dr. Narciso Tapia), Drs. Shawn and Jackie Espina, Dr. Manuel Emerson Donaldo, Dr. Irelan Amores (now Evasco), Dr. Karen Batoctoy, Dr. Maryliz Ferolino (now Tejano) and Dr. Nelipta Lim.

Practices were held to master the song including the voicing which yours truly also made up. In the part which says "The richness of your vision...", I deliberately had the female voices serve as background dividing them into soprano and alto.

The recording part was fun. It was actually my first song to be recorded in a music studio. (Finally, one of my dreams fulfilled even if it is not a commercial music recording!) We looked like professional recording artists! Too bad, I was not able to take pics.

We had these big microphones and those things you put in the ears to block extraneous noise and to hear your own voice and the minus one as you sing. It was my first music recording and it will be part of history so in a way, it is better than a commercial song.

Now listen to the CIM Hymn and pay attention to the number of singers you can hear. Guess the number of people who actually sang...and listen to the voicing in the end.

Guessed already how many choir members during the actual recording?

Didn't I already tell you we were just 6? Magic, right?

That's the beauty of modern technology. The studio can multiply your voice severalfold so it would appear you are a choir of more than 20 when in fact, there were only 6 of us. Dr. Donaldo and yours truly both acted as bass and tenor at the same time thanks to technology also.

Notice the overlapping of different wordings?

In the last part which says, "Source of pride and inspiration", I had me and the guys chant aloud C-I-M, C-I-M" while simultaneously sounding like soldiers singing in a different timing "Source of pride and inspira-shun". Also going to the finale, you will notice as the words, "Your truly our one and only CIM" was sung, "My one and only CIM" was also in the background.

In the finale, I saw to it that the different voices for the last "C-I-M" will be sung in a prolonged manner and the music will really be climactic.

So I hope, CIM alumni will like this CIM hymn version and will play it each time there is a CIM-related event or celebration. Sing it wholeheartedly and with pride. Go CIM!

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