OVM or Original Vincentian Music sounds like OPM or Original Pilipino Music but other than their acronyms’ aural likeness, the two are not in any way related.
The latter is an advocacy for support of homegrown composers, singers, bands and the recording industry vis-a-vis the onslaught of Western pop music. The former is just a contrived, or say, a provisional label to refer in a broad sense to any music written by Vincentian priests or brothers. No, there is no conscious movement to promote and advance OVM but it doesn’ t mean there are no existing works. The original compositions and arrangements of Fr. Francis Cruz, C.M., Fr. Raul Pura, C.M., Fr. John Era, C.M., Fr. Randy Agner, C.M., Fr. Mariano de Silva, C.M. and the late Fr. Rufo Dino, C.M. form a worthy catalogue under such a category. Abroad, the late eminent composer-organist Fr. Jose Ma. Alcacer, C.M.’s polyphonic compositions, villancicos and other works easily fit in this mold and even add a stamp of classical elegance to OVM.
Fr. Bernie Diaz, C.M.’s “Kanta Misa” album, a song book for choir and congregation, although launched in 2007 during the feast of the Queenship of Mary on August 22, may be considered the latest significant addition to the growing OVM genre.
Fr. Bernie is the current director of the Campus Ministry Office of Adamson University. In addition to his priestly duties, he is an avid musician and composer. He studied Music Composition at Sta. Isabel College. His “Kanta Misa” CD is an uplifting collection of Mass songs as offering to God in the spirit of prayer, worship and engagement. It carries 13 songs, all original compositions by Fr. Bernie, except “The Lord’s Prayer,” which was set to music by Fr. Mariano de Silva, C.M. Most of the songs were arranged by Maestro Alfredo Buenaventura, Grand Old Man of Filipino Music, while Ms. Heidi Nimuan, lay campus minister of Adamson’s Campus Ministry Office, and Fr. Rene Ruelos, C.M., parish priest of St. Vincent de Paul Church, wrote the lyrics of some of the songs.
In her September 23, 2007 Philippine Daily Inquirer column on the album launching, Ms. Josephine Darang wrote: “Fr. Bernie’s versatility and unique sensitivity as a promising young songwriter shone through as the Sta. Isabel Choir, under the baton of Maribel Miguel, sang the melodious and uplifting “Tayo na sa Panginoon”, the well-articulated “Paghahandog”, the lyrical and poetic “Buhay Ko’y Laan”, the dramatic and brilliantly arranged “Ama Namin”, the divine, soulful and stirring “Aba Ginoong Maria”, and the gleeful, catchy, and festive “San Vicente, Sinugo ng Diyos.” All songs in the album were rendered by the Sta. Isabel College Chorale.
With the release of this album, Original Vincentian Music might just be on its way to seeing more works that will add a new dimension to religious celebrations and worship. OVM might also establish its own identity and niche in the church music scene; and with another album in the works, as shared by the unassuming but talented composer Fr. Bernie, one is bound to feel optimistic.
“Kanta Misa” brings Vincentian music to a high note and we wish Fr. Bernie and those equally talented priests and brothers more creative power.