For years now, Charles Abing has been unceasingly helping aspiring Kagay-anon musicians to a promising career through sharing his talent and becoming an inspiration to everyone. Charles or Sir Charles, as what his peers and students fondly call him, is currently Liceo de Cagayan University’s Dean of College of Music. He has been tirelessly assisting and training fellow musicians not just here in Cagayan de Oro but also from neighboring areas in Northern Mindanao in making their craft as beautiful as ever. And although he wasn’t actually born in CDO, (he was originally from Ozamis City), he has spent most of his lifetime here in the city which makes him every bit of a Kagay-anon.
While he was growing, Sir Charles already has sense his love for music. At the age of 9, his parents found out his natural talent in playing the piano. His older brother, according to Sir Charles, was the first one in their family to receive piano lessons, but he later asked his mother if he could also try playing the piano. His mom’s best friend—Armenia Jalalon-Nerida—overheard their conversation and told Charles’ mom that he could have a two-month trial lesson. And that was the start of Charles’ love affair with music, because during that span, his parents were able to find out his innate talent with the piano. What his older brother learned for years, he easily learned in a couple of months.
Since then, Charles has been unstoppable in creating music. He learned playing the harmonium organ by his own, and later became the regular organist during special masses in high school. Even when he left Misamis Occidental after high school to pursue higher education at Cagayan de Oro, he still did not stop from playing the piano. While at Xavier University, he also became one of the regular pianist at XU’s Campus Chapel Aides. It was during his stay at XU when he started composing responsorial psalm music. Some of his compositions can still be heard now and are compiled in a collection of church songs—the Psalms to Sing. Charles has always dreamt of pursuing a course in Music, however, XU doesn’t offer one. From his original course, Agricultural Engineering, he shifted to Education because that was the only course offering music units.
However, in 1988, a big opportunity came knocking into Charles’ door. Without the consent of his mom and of the Xavier Chapel, Charles auditioned for Silliman University and passed for two majors – composition and piano. He was also given a scholarship, the Ruth Palmer Scholarship. It was a tough decision make, leaving XU behind for music, but everything paid off later on. He was a consistent honor student and he also had the rare chance to receive further studies in Elisabeth University of Music in Hiroshima, Japan after becoming a recipient of the Kumahira Scholarship and Loyola Foundation Scholarship. Since then, a lot of opportunities and blessings in Sir Charles career as a musician started pouring.
Among all the things he has accomplished as a musician, his greatest achievement was when his composition was chosen to be sang at the Asian Youth Day last August 2014 in South Korea by more than 2,000 delegates in front of Pope Francis. It was indeed a once in a lifetime opportunity that not all musicians are given. With his talent and passion in music, Sir Charles is one shining inspiration for aspiring Kagay-anon musicians.