Who We Are
The love of music has a way of gluing people together. Since 1990, most of us were members of The Lofradez Chorale. After this group disbanded, a small group of friends continued to sing even without a director. At the death anniversary of Ines Millare in 1994, the Silayan Singers were born.
Susing Flores, Didi Saguin-Becker, Cindy Sunga, Alice Parenas were among those who accompanied the group at various functions in the Filipino communities: Laguna Association, St. Paul College Alumni Association of the Midwest & the De Ocampo Nursing Alumni Association. We also started venturing out to sing at religious occasions: Easter Mass at the University of Chicago, Simbang Gabi at several churches including St. John Brebeuf in Niles, St. Hubert’s at Hoffman Estates, St. Margaret Mary’s. St. Gregory’s and St. Matthias’ in Chicago, as well at weddings, funerals, wakes and Nursing Homes.
In 1997, we forged a union with Ed Dimangondayao who provided excellent musical leadership, inspiring the Silayan Singers to pursue greater heights in musical performance. In 1998, this journey led to Navy Pier- the centennial celebration of Philippine Independence, where we blended our voices with many others to pay tribute to those who birthed our nation. This experience spurred us on to pursue the recording of our maiden album, “Silayan”, and its launching at our first concert in 2000. This was an expression of who we are, what we’ve been through and what we will continue to aspire for. It represented many years of friendship.
In conjunction with Nila Dimangondayao as our movement director and conductor, through hard work and tremendous commitment, yearly concerts ensued and subsequent recordings followed: “Salamat Musika”, ”Love in all of its Splendor” and “A Moment in Time to Love”, each year providing the needed assistance to the deprived and less fortunate.
In 2002, Silayan Association in Illinois had become a non-profit organization (501(c)3), promoting music as a universal language giving praise and glory to God and using our gifts and talents to raise community awareness and charity.
Through World Vision, we supported Project Pangkaunlarn and sponsored a Filipino child’s health, education and well being. Through ANCOP (Answering the Cry of the Poor) Foundation, we supported GAWAD KALINGA in the creation of safe communities by providing housing, education and the basic necessities for the homeless. Through Food for the Poor, Inc., we helped ease the hunger problems in the US.
Past charitable endeavors also included raising funds for St. Matthias Catholic Church in Chicago and New Hope Baptist Church in Alsip, Illinois. We sent medical equipment and supplies to the Provincial Hospital in Dumaguete, Negros Oriental, Philippines. Among the projects we co-sponsored was the medical-dental mission in different Barangas in Dumaguete where not only medical attention was given but also food. We had served as a fiscal agent for the St Paul University Dumaguete Alumni Association of North America’s fundraising for community projects benefiting the poor in Dumaguete.
We performed at the 100-yr Anniversary of the Rotary International Convention in Chicago and along with other pastoral musicians, we participated at the 28th Annual Convention of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians at St. Michael’s Parish in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In partnership with the Village of Morton Grove, we conducted a Community Health Fair in Morton Grove. To this date, we continue to provide music at the Christmas Eve mass at the Little Sisters of the Poor Nursing Home in Chicago.
Through the years, other beneficiaries included the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo (2x) towards the construction of a school for the poor in the slums of Fairview, Quezon City Philippines; for the abandoned and neglected at the Hospicio de San Jose Orphanage (2x) in Manila, Philippines; for victims of intense flooding in the Philippines, and the mudslide in Guinsaugon, Southern Leyte, Philippines; the Good News Hospital in Banaue, Philippines, a non-government organization offering medical/surgical services to the underprivileged in its vicinity; and the Bagong Pag-aalaga Child Center, Barcelona Evangelical Church, in Barcelona, Sorsogon, Philippines.
What started as a semblance of an impossible dream has now become a reality. And we do not intend to stop here. We plan to extend the borders of our musical endeavors to embrace others willing to dream and work with us.
From this moment on… with Luis Galvez as our musical director, we aspire to reach greater heights of musical expression as the language of the soul, through song and dance. It is our intention to spread hope, love, peace and joy to all.
Silayan… our story, We will continue to tell it and we will continue to live it. Hopefully, there will be others who will pick up the story and tell it and live it…and tell it and live it…and tell it and live it…