March 2, 2024

(Editors’ note: The Midland Courier is reprinting the columns of the late Atty. Benedicto T. Carantes as a tribute to one of its long-time columnists. This piece was published on Nov. 25, 2007.)

Unless your heart is embedded in stone or you are tone deaf, somewhere in your miserable life, a song or two must have touched the inner recesses of your soul, engulfing your entire body with a feeling of joyful sorrow that only the magic of music can bestow.
Music, they say, is the universal language of love and romance that either brings pain or joy to the heart.
In any case, it is the mirth or tears that say it all, yet ever so sweet.


I learned my very first song in a post-war tots school nothing at all like the pre-schools of today that charge exorbitant tuition fees so that your kids can rid themselves of their basic shyness and end up being little brats instead.
Honestly, except for household chores, I do not think that children should be saddled with responsibilities like school work until at least they are seven years old.
Let mother and child enjoy and educate each other in those early formative years.
But I disagree.


The kindergarten school that I attended was run by Protestant missionaries and for free, and the song I refer to was all about mothers that us children should love and obey.
At the end of the term, we are all rewarded with farewell souvenirs, but on Christmas day, we were given gifts that arrived in large crates or boxes shipped from the United States of America, but only after we had sung Christmas carols by way of saying “thank you actually” actually the last part of our yuletide chorus repertoire.
Since my cousins and I were of the same age, or born a few years apart from one another, we would often group together for some singing around a bonfire in the old New Lucban neighborhood where we all resided.
Some lowland kids would join in the fun, one or two lugging their guitars for the needed accompaniment.


Movies were the only source of entertainment at the time, and movie change was awaited with eager anticipation – the so-called “coming attractions”, as advertised by the three big theaters – the “Plaza” of the (Dr.) de la Rosa clan, “Pines Theatre” of the late Sevilla-Mutuc families, where Ed Avila’s dad, mang Art to all, was employed; and the “Session Theatre” of the Sta. Maria-Laperal-Nasser close knit circle.
Cowboy movies were favorite flicks, but the most memorable ones were those that had heart-touching tracks, or the song or music that heightens the drama of the movie.
“High Noon”, “The Big Country”, “How the West Was Won”, all had truly beautiful background music.


And what would “Gone with the Wind” be without “My Own True Love” first playing softly, later on climaxing in a crescendo of violins and cymbals, while Vivian Leigh vows never to go hungry again.
The blare of trumpets and the roll of drums just before Moses parts the Red Sea in the Cecil de Mills’ epic production, the “Ten Commandments” mesmerized you in awe as the Bible unfolded before your eyes.
Gene Kelly made several musicals, but you only recall him prancing and splashing in the water as he belts out “Singing in the Rain” in the movie of the same title.
And who can forget Deborah Kerr dancing with the king of Siam, played by Yul Brynner, and singing the timeless, “Getting to Know You” and the unforgettable “Hello Young Lovers.”
Elvis Presley, the greatest rock star ever, will forever remain in our hearts because of his rock and roll hits like “Jailhouse Rock”, “Hound Dog”, and “Blue Suede Shoes”. But more so his simple but haunting love song, “Love Me Tender”.


My memories of Elizabeth Taylor are not of “Giant”, “Butterfield 8”, or “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”, but as an American living in Paris in the movie “The Last Time I Saw Paris.”
The movie sound track is what I love to play on the piano when I am feeling empty and lost.
My mom played the piano, and so does my Minda, who says I only tinker with the instrument – you know, like dabbling in politics, but not necessarily being a politician.
No matter. When I am pounding the keys and singing my lungs out, the world in which I move does not exist, only my own.
It is what keeps me sane, as I am sure it does my cousin Robert, a talented and accomplished piano player.


But the songs and music today confound me.
There’s more noise than melody, so my mother would have lamented.
Today’s music alas, are like today’s politicians – all bluster and no tune – all bark, no bite, except when chewing off the fat of the land.
But on the day you fall in love, all the birds in the sky will be singing, soaring you to heights of tender confusion, and incomparable excitement.
And the bells will ring soon enough for you.
Keep in mind that when you love somebody, it’s no good unless you love her “all the way.”
“Love is never an easy game to play” – “yesterday”, today, or “as time goes by.”
The Beatles, Casablanca, Bogart, Bergman, South Pacific, May and December couple Mitzi and Rosanno, Bloody Mary ande Bali Hai, Camelot, ill fated lovers Richard and Guinevere.
Love was never meant to be a triangle. Ah, what would life be without music and movies?