As the judges proclaimed the Sarabun Brass Theater by Sarawittaya of Thailand champions of the heart-pounding Brassline Battle at the Bacoor International Music Championships, the first reaction of most of the Thais were to walk towards their Filipino counterparts, members of the Citizens’ Brigade Band of Dasmarinas, and shake their hands. It was a simple gesture, but one that spoke volumes of the spirit of sportsmanship and the profoundness of humility in the face of victory.

Indeed, it was an epic three days of marching bands, music, and yes, magic! As the marching bands walked into the stage area of the Mall of Asia Arena for one last time, not a few eyes in the audience were teary-eyed. During days past, they have witnessed how absolutely amazing these marching bands were, most of them composed of teenagers. It was inspiring to see each of them perform with such fervor. You knew, by the timing of their steps, the skill they played their instruments, and the frustration in their faces when they made an error, that they invested many hours of practice in each performance. Truly, they were sights to behold.

The competitions proved to be an exposition of culture and music as one band performed one after the other evoking different feelings and emotions, from sadness to joy, from frustration to empowerment.

Different themes were explored. The 4th Raiders Color Guards from the Philippines came out on top of the WGI Color Guard Scholastic Open with “An Everlasting Love” as the Taipei Yuehfu gave a wistful rendition of their program, “Hana” and likewise placed first in the WGI Color Guard Independent Open. Marching Band Listya Dwijaswara snagged the top prize for both the WGI Winds Independent Open and and the WGI Percussion Scholastic Open. Jember Marching Band of Indonesia placed first at the WGI Percussion Independent Open with their program, “Human Evolution.”

Big Shell Drumline of Thailand bested KERDLC, Sandugo, and FEU with their program, “Savage Man.”

At the Street Parade Competition, Sarabun took home the championship, thanking the organizers profusely, with Banda San Jose coming in as 1st runner-up, Citizens’ Brigade Band of Dasmarinas as 2nd runner-up, and Band 96 Cabiao as 3rd runner-up. Taking home special awards are The Dragons of the Cabiao Youth Concert Band for Best Majorette, San Lorenzo Ruiz Band 2003 for Best Color Guard, St. John’s Institution Naval Cadet Band for Best Band Major, Citizens’ Brigade Band of Dasmarinas for Best Uniform, and Sarabun Brass Theater by Sarawittaya for Best Music.

At the highly anticipated Marching Show Band Finals, Citizens’ Brigade Band of Dasmarinas was proclaimed champion and the City of Bacoor Youth Composite Band as 1st runner-up, Band 96 Cabioa as 2nd runner-up, and Banda San Jose as 3rd runner-up. The City of Bacoor Youth Composite Band took home most of the Special Awards including Best Color Guard, Best Winds, Best Percussion, and Best Music. Banda San Jose got the Best Visual Award and The Dragons of the Cabiao Youth Concert Band 88 got Best Majorette award.

Sinag Color Guards was awarded the Mayor Joseph Estrada Trophy for achieving the overall high score for WGI local and Jember Marching Band and Taipei Yuehfu Drum and Bugle Corps will both be taking home the Congressman Strike Revilla Trophy for overall high score for WGI foreign. The Citizens’ Brigade Band of Dasmarinas came away with the Mayor Lani Mercado Revilla Trophy for overall high score at the street parade and marching show band.

It’s interesting to note that the City of Bacoor Youth Composite Band was organized only last April 2017, with the encouragement of Bacoor City Mayor Lani Mercado Revilla. Comprised of 90 members from the 15 active marching bands of Bacoor, the members underwent rigorous training under Maestro Avelino Mendoza, a graduate of the UST Conservatory of Music, and Professor Jessee San Miguel.

It was an epic undertaking for the organizers as great endeavours are almost always accompanied by great challenges. However, BIMC proves once again how great things can be accomplished with hard work and teamwork. All the sleepless nights and pressured sighs paid off in the end. The City of Bacoor was able to pull off an event of international caliber. Yes, the Filipino can!