Wednesday July 18, 2018

Tributes pour in for Eastern Visayas' musical genius

FRIENDS and loved ones have come forward to offer tributes to the late Melvin Corpin, the multi-awarded composer and liturgical hymn maestro in the Philippines.

Corpin, known as musical genius of Eastern Visayas, passed away after battling a rare ailment since October 2017. He died surrounded by his family at their home in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, on May 11. He was 55.

“Thank you, for laying down a path for Waray songwriters to follow. You lived a life full of spirituality and music, for someone like you, nothing is more glorious than that,” said Tacloban-based musician Jerby Santo.

He also called on the local officials to “half-mast the Philippine flag for Melvin Corpin, a true Waray hero.”

“I know him as one of the best composers of Catholic Church songs in the Archdiocese of Palo, some of which were used during the Papal Mass,” added Eileen Ballesteros, former lector at Sto. Niño Church in Tacloban.

Corpin led the 250-member Archdiocese’s choir when Pope Francis officiated a mass for the survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in Tacloban City on January 17, 2015.

“The curtain falls for the last time for Melvin as he joined our Almighty creator...Melvin was an integral part of the organization and he leaves behind a legacy of music, love and friendship,” announced the Waraynon Initiative Network (WIN), a non-profit organization based in Southern California, where Corpin was its vice-president for Ensemble, Training and Development.

WIN, which describes itself as "artists rendering their services," aims to “preserve and promote Philippine heritage through arts.”

“Thank you, sir Melvin for your ministry of music!” said Philip Jude Acidre, a youth leader and former seminarian in Tacloban.

Acidre also recalled the generosity of Corpin when he helped him to come up with liturgical music for the National Youth Day celebration 16 years ago.

Madonna Songalia, who works at Palo Archdiocese, looked at Corpin as “a pillar to the church music that we have today in the Archdiocese.”

Corpin composed and arranged over 500 songs mostly inspirational and church hymns.

“The whole team extends our sincerest condolences to the family of the late Melvin Corpin and assures that we, including your relatives and friends, will always be here every step of the way to recovery,” said Leyte Dance Theater, through its artistic director and choreographer Jess de Paz, in a statement.

Corpin’s love for music showed early in his life when at four years old he began to play the piano by ear. When he turned 10, he started writing and arranging songs.

He completed Bachelor of Arts in Music, cum laude, at Leyte Normal University in Tacloban City.

After finishing his degree, he began organizing concerts and choirs from parishes, schools, and different institutions both in private and public.

Church and government leaders commissioned him to compose and arrange liturgical hymns and theme songs. He also traveled extensively abroad to do workshops and concerts as music director of the charismatic movement Family of God’s Little Children of Tacloban City.

Aside from leading the St. Therese Educational Foundation of Tacloban Inc. (STEFTI) Children’s Choir to win major awards in various competitions, Corpin also joined and won in various songwriting contests around the country.

Corpin’s “extraordinary talent as musical arranger led to a collaboration with Philippine national artist Bienvenido Lumbera in arranging songs for national based stage plays.”

WIN said that Corpin also collaborated with songwriter Lucien Letaba in creating award-winning songs for Philippine Indie movies.

“He arranged Lucien’s ‘Di Ako Titigil’ (I Won’t Stop) from the movie ‘Burgos’ at the Golden Screen Awards of the ABS-CBN in Manila and bagged the Best Song 2014 award. Also, he arranged the Famas (Philippine’s Oscars) best song nominee, ‘Saan Ako Tutungo’ (Where Am I Going?), from the movie ‘Migrante’ also composed by Lucien. In fact, one of the songs featured in Halad is a Lucien Letaba original entitled ‘Balud’ (Wave),” WIN wrote on its website.

Corpin’s “musical genius” enabled him to live and work in the US.

There in the US, he was commissioned by the St. Monica Parish Church in Carpentersville, Illinois, to be its choir’s music director from 2008 to 2011.

Prior to his death, he was the music director of the Our Lady of the Valley Parish Choir in Pahrump, Nevada.

He also conceptualized “Ha Imo La (For You Alone),” “Lamrag (Ray of Light),” and “Halad (Offering),” and other performances where he also served as the show’s musical and artistic director.

In a popular crowdfunding website, Corpin’s family thanked all those who shared financial and moral support during his hospitalization and medication.

His family and friends described Corpin as “a wonderful one in a million musician” who “dedicated and offered his talent for the church for his glory and honor.”

He is survived by his wife Carla, a nurse by profession and a singer, and their four children who also played different musical instruments for the Waraynon Initiative Network Orchestra, namely, Meldian, Carlvian, Mel Carlo, and Carl Marchel.

A Holy Mass will be held at 10 a.m. of May 19 at the Our Lady of the Valley Catholic church, 781 East Gamebird Road, Pahrump, Nevada. Corpin's Memorial Service will be at 2 p.m. of May 19 at La Paloma Funeral Services, 5450 Stephanie St., Las Vegas, Nevada.

Corpin's ashes will be brought to Tacloban City in two weeks. Schedule of services in Tacloban will be announced later. (SunStar Philippines)