Leaving a legacy-A A +A
By Nito Meneses
Thursday, March 21, 2013
BORN on December 8, 1921 in Agoo, La Union, Macario Gagaza Fronda started his teaching career at the Saint Louis School elementary department in 1947. Six years later in 1953, he became a high school teacher in Physical Education. He was married to Ildefonsa Estoque Fronda and were blessed with eight children.
Mr. Fronda was appointed in 1967 as the Dean of Student Affairs of Saint Louis University until he retired in 1987. Although officially retired, he continued to serve as a consultant to the band and music lecturer until 2006.
Dean Mac Fronda is multi-awarded and a man for all seasons. His major awards included Builders of Baguio Award (October 2009), Bannuar Iti Ili - 419th Agoo Foundation Day (December 1997), SLU Service Award (January 1992), Huwarang Pamilyang Pilipino Award (September 1998), and DILG Gintong Tala Leadership Award (October 2005).
His major citations included Panagbenga Baguio Flower Festival for composing the festival theme, Philippine Constabulary Regional Command 1 (March 1986), Department of Social Welfare and Development (July 2005) and Cultural Center of the Philippines-NAMCYA (November 1983).
Dean Fronda’s achievements spanned beyond the field of academics into the field of music. He was a renowned musician, composer and arranger.
In 1953, when Saint Louis College was founded, he organized a small group of 11 men to form the school band. As the band leader, he had to travel to La Union, Pangasinan, Ilocos Norte, and Ilocos Sur to recruit band members.
By the 1960s and 1970s, the SLU Marching Band was already getting to be well-known in Baguio City and neighboring provinces due to its excellent performances. It became a perennial winner in competitions such as the Baguio Flower Festival Panagbenga, Independence Day parades, Binalonan Tours, and in Camp John Hay activities.
The SLU Marching Band is proud to have performed together with professional and commercial bands, among others, the former Philippine Constabulary Band, 13th U.S. Air Force Band in the former Clark Air Base, Coca-Cola, Banda 45 of Bulacan, Banda 55 of Bataan, the Philippine Military Academy Band, and the Kabataan Band in Nueva Ecija.
The generosity of the SLU administration enabled more musically-inclined students who could not afford to enroll in college to acquire a scholarship by serving as a band member. In 1988, Dean Fronda’s proposal that the SLU band start to accept female students as members was approved. Marivic Macadaeg was the first female member and later became the band’s bandmaster after sir Mac’s retirement.
The trademark of the SLU Marching Band is the delivery of crisp, precise and excellent notes whether for a marching piece or a concert overture.
The citations and awards received by the SLU band were possible through Dean Fronda’s leadership, resoluteness, and the brand of discipline that he strongly advocated among the band members. The SLU Marching Band became the ambassador of goodwill of SLU towards various publics.
Dean Fronda’s compositions include Tribute to the Cordilleras Baguio Flower Festival Panagbenga theme (1989), SLU Diamond Jubilee Hymn (1986), SLU Presidential March (1997), Huwarang Pamilyang Pilipino Hymn (1998), Bakakeng Parish Hymn, Senior Citizens March, and Agoo Maestra Señora de Caridad Processional March
He also arranged the following musical pieces: SLU Hymn (adopted and enhanced from a composition of Fr. Vantome), Baguio City March, Cordillera Hymn, Baguio General Hospital School of Nursing Hymn, PRISAA Hymn, CARAA Hymn, and Pusok To’y Nasugatan. He likewise notated 20 rhythmic patterns for Cordillera ethnic dances
Generations of musically-gifted band members who have successfully completed their college education through the SLU Band scholarship, and who are now professionals in their own fields, will be forever grateful to SLU and to their greatest mentor – Dean Mac Fronda.
Indeed, as Saint Louis University was the right choice where knowledge and learning came to fulfillment for every SLU graduate, equally so was the right choice in joining the SLU Marching Band.
They too, like their band master and band leader sir Macario Fronda – leave their legacies and make their indelible marks in the history of the university as well as in the preservation of the cultural heritage of Baguio City and the Cordilleras.
As Dean Macario Fronda leaves his distinct legacies in this material world, his inspiration and music shall live on.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on March 21, 2013.