Thursday, April 17, 2014

Song For Mary: Reflecting The Atenean's Mission

The Ateneo brand is composed of many elements, many derived from years of history and tradition. The "Song for Mary" is one such unique brand element, which aside from linking the Atenean to a meaningful past moves him forward to his life's mission.

Where did this come from?

This Official Video was Produced by ADMU's Office of University Development and Alumni Relations, University Communications and Public Relations Office and OnMedia Creative Solutions Inc. Lyrics by Fr. James Reuter, S.J. Music by Captain Jose Campana Sung by The Ateneo Chamber Singers.

My contribution? The subtitles using iMovie.

More on the brand, the history and this song from this link...

 "Up to the time that the Ateneo de Manila had moved to Loyola Heights, the school anthem was “Hail Ateneo, Hail”, a song of triumph, of marching on to victory with loyalty. However, the move from Padre Faura to Loyola Heights seems to have evoked change. The new campus stood for something new, something nobler.

 Fr. James Reuter, S.J. wrote a song that seemed to embody the “newness” that permeated the new Ateneo. It, perhaps, better suited what the school is all about.

     “We stand on a hill between the earth and sky.
       Now all is still where Loyola’s colors fly.
       Our course is run and the setting sun ends Ateneo’s day.
       Eyes are dry at the last goodbye; this is the Ateneo way.

       Mary for you!
       For your white and blue!
       We pray you’ll keep us, Mary, constantly true!
       We pray you’ll keep us, Mary, faithful to you!

      Down from the hill, down to the world go I;
      remembring still, how the bright Blue Eagles fly.
      Through joys and tears,
      through the laughing years, we sing our battle song:
      Win or lose, it’s the school we choose;
      this is the place where we belong!

      Mary for you!
      For your white and blue!
      We pray you’ll keep us, Mary, constantly true!
      We pray you’ll keep us, Mary, faithful to you!

Its music is adapted from Calixa LavalĂ©e’s music to the hymn “O Canada”, composed in 1880, which is why many people believe that the Ateneo copied the music of Canada’s national anthem. However, it is interesting to note that Canada only adopted “O Canada” as its own national anthem in 1980. The Ateneo de Manila adopted “A Song for Mary” as its alma mater song three decades earlier.

“A Song for Mary” speaks more clearly and more ardently from the Atenean’s heart. Life is not merely about competition or about assailing enemies “in strong array.” The struggle is, as in chivalry, for one’s Lady. And the Ateneo’s own Lady is no less than Mary, the Mother of God, and our own mother. The aim is not merely victory, but steadfast faith and commitment—to keep “constantly true”, whether we win or lose. The song also speaks of a purpose higher than to “win our laurels bright,” a greater challenge than being able to “do or die.” The song declares that we go “down from the hill, down to the world,” to live, to give, and to serve. That is the Ateneo way."


Why Blue and White?

The Ateneo has adopted the colors of Our Lady as its own school colors. The school colors are therefore signs of the Ateneo’s devotion to Mary and its commitment to become, like her, a constantly true and faithful servant of the Lord.

Marian blue, ultramarine, is the purest, most brilliant, and most enduring of blues. It is also the rarest and most expensive of pigments, and exceeds gold in value. The color must be extracted in tiny amounts from crushed lapis lazuli, a gem. Medieval artists therefore reserved blue for the robes of the Virgin and the Child Jesus. Mary is also Queen of Heaven and Star of the Sea, and appropriately, her color is also the color of sky and water. Sky blue symbolizes distance, divinity, and dreams; Marine blue, mystery, depth, intimacy. In Mary’s blue mantle, Heaven and Earth, depth and height, the divine and the human come together. No wonder then that blue is the color of faith, peace, and commitment. No wonder then, that the Ateneo has made her Lady’s blue its own.

White is also a color of Mary, conceived without sin and clothed with the sun. It is at once colorless and yet bears the entire spectrum of color. White signifies silence, an emptiness and space that is pregnant with possibility. It is also the color of openness, of truth, of purity, and of hope. In a sense, white is the color of ‘yes’. And it is a color of the Ateneo, because, like Mary, we hope to surrender ourselves to God, so that He may do His work through ours, and so that His will may be made flesh in our lives.


What does the hill represent?

In my AGSB MBA hypermarketing classes, I have noticed that most of the graduate students completed their undergraduate studies in other schools.  It is therefore not surprising that most don’t know of this song; there is a distinct possibility that they, like me, an Atenean only post-college, will hear this song for the first time only during their graduation march.

Partly, to prevent this irony from being repeated over and over again, but moreso, to emphasize the Ateneo branding and mission that this Song for Mary represents, I include this song in our marketing discussions.

Finally, and most importantly, I would like to share what Dean Alfredo “Alran” Bengzon emphasized to me during his 2 hour interview (“read as” lecture) in 1997 when I applied for and got accepted to transfer teaching marketing from Ateneo Loyola to the Ateneo School of Business in Rockwell.

As I recall from Dean Bengzon: What is so Ateneo about the Ateneo? What is the symbolism of the hill in the Song for Mary? It starts with the life of St. Ignatius of Loyola, a proud and worldly soldier who got injured in battle; thereafter he was blessed with the realization that he was to fight a bigger battle for others and not self and that his reception of this God’s battle orders were like standing on a hill beneath the earth and sky. With that God-given mission, the typical Jesuit, comes down from the hill , and ENGAGES the world- tries to transform the world by leading it and being part of it. While some religious serve God and their greater purpose by praying and denying themselves in isolation, the Jesuits and the Ateneans in particular try to make the world a better place by developing the leaders who influence and are stewards of others.  Thus, by developing good leaders of business, law and medicine, the  world becomes a better place. That is why an Atenean is a man for others.

With this information, what has changed in your thinking about being an Atenean?  Pls. post your comments below but do so after watching the video and reading the complete blogpost.