FAREWELL TO THEE ST JAMES: GRAND ALUMNI HOMECOMING MUSIC FESTIVAL

It’s the first time that St. James College of Quezon City—the first of the three big schools established by the Torres couple in 1978—hosted an enormous gathering of alumni in the evocative site close to our hearts on 01 June 2019.

Video Credit: SJCQC Grand Alumni Homecoming Organizers

Early on, the school practically celebrated regular festivities, like the annual foundation day and other significant celebrations but not as monumental as this superb gathering.

The Alumni of St. James College of Quezon City minutely planned and organized the Farewell To Thee Grand Alumni Homecoming (GAH) Music Festival in less than four months. The idea of a GAH Music Festival was formulated after the school President and directress, Mrs. Myrna Montealegre–Torres, issued a heart-rending statement on 1 February 2019, regarding the inevitable permanent closure of the school effective 01 June 2019.

St. James College of Quezon City, previously St. James School, has existed for more than four decades of giving exemplary education to its studentry and of being highly committed to its vision and mission in providing globally competitive, quality education and to molding students who are guided by Christian values and responsive to the needs of his fellowmen.

MR & MRS, the weekly opposition tabloid from 1982 to 1986, featured the Torres Couple in one of its editions in 1982.

St. James College of Quezon City had welcomed twenty-six high school batches from 1988 to 2019 to join the last hurrah for the school.

The Farewell To Thee Grand Alumni Homecoming Music Festival was slated on 01 June 2019—the day the school ceased operation. The GAH Music Festival intended to celebrate friendship afresh and pay tribute to the former teachers and students.

More than 3,000 alumni had registered to attend the event. But only 2,800 or so electrified and eager alumni appeared in this once in a blue moon grandest homecoming ever recorded in the school’s history.

Though, the GAH organizers, after careful consideration, had dissuaded minors from partaking in the revelry, which includes social drinking, which ensued later in the program.

Guest alumni performers from the different batches were initially notified and invited to perform their final act like Jeremy Santos, Cram Dancers, Lance Edward, Faina Ruado, Joshua Feliciano, Batch 92 Band, Batch 94 Band, Road 20 Band and the author.

Before the performances of the headliners started, the audience went into raptures first as the fusion of the popular high school dance groups “The Zip” and “XBass” performed the opening act on stage and grooved to the old 90s dance music with great thrill and enthusiasm.

Batch 96 Teaser

After the supporting act of the combined dance groups, the flamboyant Executive Secretary and former school principal, Mr. Pablito Siwa Belardo, who served the institution and the Torreses for 34 innovative years, graced the occasion and addressed the alumni with his welcome speech and pep talk.

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Mr. Belardo delivers a valedictory speech before throngs of alumni.

Subsequently, the selected alumni performers of the music festival presented and rendered their arranged songs and music genres.

After the jaw-dropping performances of the handpicked alumni headliners, DJ Echo, Ronthug and DJ Warren checked in and complemented the frolic evening with their catchy, groovy, and powerful playlists which ignited alumni to groove, frolic, party and unite for the last time.

Shortly, in October 2019, the demolition works took the alumni by surprise.

Rhedel Sy, Rodel Servino, Dexter Timajo, and the author, all belong to the Batch 96, even documented and chronicled the distressing destruction of the once premier school that nurtured Jamesians during their childhood and adolescence years.

Notwithstanding the unfortunate upshot, we will forever ingrain the legacy of Jamesian culture and recollect the memories we have had.

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