March 12, 2010

Was it just coincidence?

Maybe it was. 

At our choir's Monday practice I suggested that we change the final song at our community's Wednesday Mass to "Time to Change." It was an old song, but because it was Lent and with everything that's going on in the country, it felt like a very appropriate song to sing. So that's what we had as our final song on Wednesday. 

After the Mass, my husband Rod said, why don't we sing that also at tomorrow's Mass for Noy & Mar? I wholeheartedly agreed. At the venue the following day, we began practising the Mass songs while waiting for the priest to arrive. Since we were singing "Time to Change" for the first time, I briefly introduced the song to the group. I said it was an old song which I was sure many of them already knew. The choir thought of singing it that afternoon because Noy & Mar's campaign was anchored on the message of change. The lyrics of the song were beautiful and so appropriate. As expected, many knew the song so we had an enthusiastic practice rendition. To my delight I could even hear someone singing in second voice.

After we were through singing, the lady in charge of the Mass went up to me and said, do you know that the composer of that song is here? "What..?!!!" I wasn't sure I heard her correctly. I'd always thought "Time to Change" had been composed by a foreigner. Yes, he's here, she said. He's Atek Jacinto. Wow, I thought. What an amazing coincidence! 

We introduced Mr. Jacinto and asked him to speak briefly to the group. He said he composed the song "Time to Change" in 1968 when he was 18. Just recently he thought of offering the song to be used in Noy's campaign, so he approached Philip Juico. Mr. Juico suggested that the song also be sung during the Mass, so Mr. Jacinto came armed with a guitar and several copies of the lyrics to give to the Mass-goers. The two were very pleasantly surprised to find that the group already had the lyrics in its songbook and was about to practice singing it! 

After Mr. Jacinto spoke to the group and we began singing the song a second time, that's when the remarkable "coincidence" of it all really sank into my consciousness and I found my hair standing on end! Several ladies in the group echoed my feeling. It was beyond remarkable and amazing; it was uncanny. I told the group later: imagine, on the very afternoon that we were first going to sing a song that we felt was speaking to our hearts, the composer suddenly walks in, intending to teach it to us! 

Was it just a coincidence? With God, nothing ever is. 

by Atek Jacinto 1969 

It's time for us to make our dreams come true 
A guiding voice will tell us what to do 
It's the time for us to change and show the world 
That we still care for men and we'll lead them there. 

We'll lead them to a place beyond the sea 
A place of love where everyone is free 
Don't despair the path to happiness is wide 
If we must change our ways, call on God for our guide. 

(Note: We found out later that Mr. Jacinto used to be a member of the Circus Band. "Time to Change" is the only spiritual song he has composed; his other compositions were pop songs.)