Behind the Lyrics: Jerry Olaguer

As the days draw closer to the grand launch of San Jose Tañong Chorale’s first album “Mass for Unity”, 
the group’s musical director, Jerry Olaguer, recounts how the challenges of today served as his major inspiration behind his liturgical hymn compilation. 

“One thing that pushed me, to make my dream of having my own liturgical cd, is what is happening in our country and the world. I pray for peace, love, and unity with God.”

“At San Jose Tañong Choral, our songs aim to lead the people, blending our voices to give more beauty to the songs to inspire the people to pray more,” continues the seasoned choirmaster.

Consisting of all-English Catholic Mass songs for Ordinary Time, “Mass for Unity” takes much of its influence from the rich tradition of Jesuit music- especially the late Fr. Eduardo Hontiveros SJ.

“Fr. Hontiveros was my very first influence in Liturgical songwriting. My songs here are mostly inspired too by the other Jesuit Priest Composers’ style,” shares Olaguer.

“My inspiration for ‘Hallelujah’ was when Pope John Paul II’s Papal visit in February 1981. The music resembles somewhat the scene of a Royal King, coming from a faraway place,” adds the multi-talented composer, lyricist, and singer.

Mr.Olaguer also noted the significant contributors to the success of “Mass for Unity”, to which he owed much gratitude for their support of his wholehearted endeavor.

“Our (JesCom) sound engineer Toto Sorioso’s musicality as a fellow songwriter co-FILSCAP member, a guitarist, a very church music-oriented artist, contributed a lot in making our recording such a fruitful one.”

“Our flutist, my dear friend Jun Camahalan, a classmate and a music graduate too at the UP College of Music definitely added beauty to the completion of my music arrangement.  He too wants to help in evangelizing God’s works,” he acknowledged.

As “Mass for Unity’s” featured tracks “Let us come to the Lord”, “Prayer for unity”, and “With one Voice” focus on the essence of solidarity, Saturday’s launch also comes as an opportune time to pay tribute to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

“I also included a ‘Hail Mary’ song in honor of Mama Mary, being Jesus’ mother, our mother, who we pray to, for intervention in our prayers to God. This is the reason also why I decided to have our launch, a day before her birthday,” explains the music production professor at the College of St.Benilde.

The September 7 festivities, with the San Jose Tañong Chorale, begin with a 5pm song workshop with Mr.Olaguer himself, a Eucharistic Celebration at 6pm and a mini-concert at 7pm, free and open to the public. “Mass for Unity” CDs and songbooks will be available at the launch venue, the Queen of Angels Chapel, Riverbanks Center.

With the much-anticipated debut of “Mass for Unity” fast approaching, Mr.Olaguer warmly voiced his appreciation for the help and support of the Jesuit Music Ministry and Jesuit Communications Foundation.

“On behalf of my beloved San Jose Tañong Chorale, I wish to thank all who supported us in this endeavor, my choir, the flutist Jun, Toto the sound engineer, the sponsors, my very good officers, the choir itself, and most definitely the JMM and JesCom. We offer our album to all of you, to the people of the world, and most of all to our God.”