As the elongated stretch of Ayala Avenue quickly filled up with commuters itching to get home, a different pack defied the woes of traffic inside Ayala Museum. Aptly entitled “The Manila Symphony Orchestra Rush Hour Concert Series,” a jam-packed hall consisting of friends and fans sat down to listen to Classics vs. Rock: Silent Sanctuary with the Manila Symphony Orchestra.

An Unfamiliar Sound

Lead by professor Arturo Molina, the Manila Symphony Orchestra (MSO) is one of Asia’s oldest symphony orchestras. Their Rush Hour Concert series have included crowd favorites such as “Bach vs. Beatles” and “Mamma Mia: Mother’s Day Special.” On the other side of the playing field, Sarkie Sarangay, Anjo Inacay, Jason Rondero, Allen Calixto, and Kim Mirandilla-Ng make up rock band Silent Sanctuary. Known for their incorporation of a violin and cello in the lineup, they received widespread success in 2006 with tracks like “Kundiman” and “Ikaw Lamang.”

A standing crowd suffocated the entrance—a clear sign that the museum needed to refuse entrance. With the wind instruments situated in the back, small string instruments on the left, and long string instruments on the right, they opened the programme with “The Barber of Seville.” The first thing you notice in a performance like this is the synchronization of the orchestra’s arms; it’s like a ballet performance. It’s one thing to listen to an orchestra while watching a movie, but actually seeing them is a sight to behold. You don’t need to be a fan of classical music to enjoy a performance like this.

The Manila Symphony Orchestra performing at Ayala Museum

Kim enters the stage, violin in hand to perform “Syphonie Espagnole” with the MSO. He looks dapper in a coat, but shows the rock in him with a pair of Old Skool Vans. The quiet floating moments of the wind instruments and the turbulent perfection of the strings accompany his solo like a whirlwind of emotions. Sarkie sports a pair of creepers while showing off his classical guitar chops with a dreamy rendition of “Dahil sa Isang Bulaklak.” Up next is Anjo, who we found out was once the primary cellist of the MSO, with “Cello Concerto no. 1.” The piece sounds like something you’d find in a Lord of the Rings movie—the jumpy tempo curls up during Anjo’s part and then widens once the MSO are in full swing.

Coexistence Between Opposing Parties

The MSO performed an interpretation of “Tayo’y Mga Pinoy” by Heber Bartolome before Silent Sanctuary joins them on stage with the instruments we’re more fond of. They kick off with “Ikaw Lamang” while professor and conductor Molina turns to his left and right constantly, never losing a beat for the orchestra. Silent Sanctuary continues with their newest single “Malayo na Tayo,” followed by an even more romantic version of “Sa Yo.” Their last song “Bumalik Ka na Sa Akin” enters with an epic intro courtesy of the MSO. The boys in the band all have their heads turned to the orchestra in awe, smiling with an unbelievable look on their faces. A unified crowd chants “Encore! Encore!” amongst the drowning noise of cheers, and Silent Sanctuary gracefully took us in for one last ride.

Silent Sanctuary performing at Ayala Museum

Silent Sanctuary performing at Ayala Museum

The merging of the Manila Symphony Orchestra and Silent Sanctuary is proof that the elitism in music is unnecessary. We left Ayala Museum thankful for the efforts from the opposite spectrums of music. To summarize the whole experience, it would be a direct quote from our videographer Paul: “That cleansed my soul!”