Waning Funds May End Philippines’ 40-Year Bamboo Organ Fest

Photo via inquirer.net

Photo via inquirer.net

via abcnews.go.com
By Teresa Cerojano/Associated Press – It has survived time, storms and wars. But a nearly 200-year-old bamboo pipe organ, said to be the oldest and most complete in the world, is facing what may be its biggest threats yet: pop music and dwindling donations.

For the last four decades, music lovers from as far away as the United States, Argentina, Australia and Europe have come every year to a Philippine Roman Catholic church to hear the organ, the centerpiece of an international music festival. Chances are, this year will be the festival’s last edition.

Organizers say they are broke because funding from traditional donors including the Philippine government, European embassies and corporate sponsors is drying up. Private companies are more keen to be involved in pop concerts than classical music, said Leo Renier, a Belgian, who founded the International Bamboo Organ Festival in 1975.

“They (corporations) are more interested in entertainment,” said Renier, a former priest and the festival’s executive director. “If Justin Bieber of Canada comes, millions they are ready to spend.”

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