Anecdotes & Testimonials

We wish to thank all who offer messages of appreciation. Rosendo’s work touched many as he strived to be as inclusive as possible with his passions: from composing music for students, to telling jokes, making music history accessible to non-musicians, cooking Philippine cuisine for large gatherings, making posters for social functions, and on and on–he lived his life always thinking of others. This page will display many kind comments by those who were so generous to remember him.

Ramon Santos, May 2008:
To the Family of Rosendo Santos:

This is to share with you some very fond recollection of Rosendo Santos.

I owe a great deal to Rosendo Santos who, as my first teacher in Music Theory – solfege and dictation, gave me quite a solid foundation in developing my musical skills. He was of course a phenomenal genius and just being associated with him as mentor was enough inspiration for me to strive for excellence. He was an instant role model in terms of talent, versatility, and humaneness.

Later he again became my teacher in Band Arranging. He was a very open and progressive pedagogue. He would hold our class outdoors, under the shade of the trees at the back of the UP administration building, which is now the UP ampitheater. As soon as we finished our “seat” work without the benefit of a piano, he would look at our manuscripts, critique them in the most constructive way, then spend the rest of the class period chatting, and even exchanging green jokes which he always had a bagfull of.

At one time, he and I rode on a bus from the UP campus in Diliman to Quiapo. After settling in our seats, he started sketching a kundiman. By the time we reached Quiapo, the piece was finished, complete with words, melody, piano accompaniment and all the dynamics. The trip usually took between 30 to 40 minutes of some rough riding through the proverbial Manila traffic.

In my senior year, when Rosendo was already abroad, I was invited to conduct his Hiyas ng Nayon at Maryknoll College (now Miriam College). We had a number of very successful performances with the all-female high school kids.

During my student days, I was a french horn player in the UP symphony orchestra and Rosendo was our timpanist. He would also be designated occasionally by Director Ramon Tapales as a substitute conductor. We had a regular pop concert season at the St., Paul’s auditorium in Manila. Rosendo did most of the orchestral arrangements, including the movie theme of the “Bridge on the River Kwai”. Rosendo was actually some kind of a composer factotum for Director Ramon Tapales with whom he enjoyed a productive association. He was viewed by everyone with great respect because people looked at him as someone who could do anything in music. He also played the trombone, the contrabass, sing, etc. After Rosendo left the conservatory, Director Ramon Tapales gave the task of producing orchestral arrangments and other similar tasks to Hialrion Rubio (my first composition teacher) and after Rubio retired, it was transfered to Prof. Lucio San Pedro, with me as assistant. I was invited to join the faculty immediately after my graduation in 1965. As junior faculty, I was doing some of the orchestral arranging for the UP symphony orchestra, and I was also given the position of assistant conductor of the UP Mixed Chorus (now the UP Concert Chorus). Even to this day, I feel some degree of pride in thinking that I was able to inherit some of the things that Rosendo used to do for the Conservatory of Music.

After finishing my studies abroad, I was kept indirectly in touch with Rosendo through Dr. Ruby Mangahas, then the dean of the College of Music. I succeeded Dr. Ruby Mangahas as dean in 1978.

Glenn Ryman, October 2014:
Rosendo Santos was not only a wonderful teacher, but also a friend to all who met him. I spent many a lunchtime with him in his studio at Wilkes, and even though we talked, he was also working on either a new composition, or an arrangement, or a poster for one of the students recitals. I can definitely say that he is greatly missed in the community.

Mary Lynn Baker Makar, July 2015:
He was a wonderful teacher and friend! My family admired and enjoyed him dearly!! Every week for about 10 years! He taught lessons to all 3 of my brothers and me!

Patrice Lynch, November 2015:
Forever indebted for the gift he inspired in Jesse and gave to our family. I will always hold a place for Ros in my heart.

Ted and Mary Lou Veremeychik, November 2015:
Ros was a colleague and friend at Wilkes University. He was a highly energetic teacher, composer, performer who always had the best interests of his students and peers at heart. Ros always smiled and was dedicated to making others smile. He was never without a joke to share. Ros was a man of many stories and experiences and everyone’s friend!

Linda Tough Pineno, September 2016:
He was so energetic and took us all along with him. I never saw him angry or upset. He wrote a new anthem every Sunday at Lehman UM Church!! I can’t imagine it, but he did. He wrote a song for every choir member on their birthday! He never stopped creating and performing. He was a joy to have in our lives and an inspiration. He was very proud of all his boys. He shared so much with so many and left behind a wonderful legacy.

Michele Millington, May 2017:
I’m thinking about ‘Mr Santos’ today and his impact on my musical life. Words cannot describe the legacy he has left.

Len Costello, May 2024:
I remember your dad coming up to me at my locker in 1975 and again in 1976, probably many more times than I can remember but for these two pieces of music in particular. He composed these for piano and clarinet and asked me to come up to his office and run through each with him. After we did it once, he said OK, you’re playing on this Sunday be there for 10 o’clock. Your dad was amazing and I am forever in his debt for supporting me and encouraging me in my pursuit of music composition point he would look over pieces that I composed and give me his creative criticism and tell me how to fix what needed to be fixed. He was always positive, never negative, never discouraged always pushed you to strive for your best. I am forever grateful to him for that.