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I was on the golf course yesterday and took a quick peek at my cellphone to check on messages received, and the stunner came in.  Maurice White, the legendary singer-songwriter, musician, record producer, arranger and bandleader, founder of Earth, Wind, and Fire had passed away.

In a moment, I was transported out of the greenery that surrounded me and was brought back temporarily to San Juan Street, Bacolod City, where way back at the onset of the 1980s, this became the center of Bacolod nightlife for the young ones of yore.  Reader, if you were of that generation, you know what I am talking about - the Spectrum Disco at the Sea Breeze Hotel.  

Millenials, listen up as I begin to tell you the story of your moms and dads (or lolos and lolas).

For those who are unfamiliar, with this place, allow me to describe it to you.  It was in the basement of Sea Breeze Hotel (which by the way is still up and running today), typical of all other discos in the era wherein a disco was a standard outlet to a hotel as in the case of Silahis' Stargazer and Intercon's Where Else?.  Its entrance was separate from the hotel's being at the right side of the facade.  The door would lead you to a booth wherein you would pay Twenty-Five Pesos for entrance with a drink.  As you paid the P25, you would be handed with a piece of cut cartolina, the size of a Post-It note, with a rubber stamp print "SPECTRUM Disco".  You would take that cartolina to hand it to the waiter downstairs to claim your drink.


As you went down into the basement on the carpeted stairs, you would immediately know that you were entering a different world as your heart started resonating with the strong bass sound emanating from Bose 802 speakers which at that time were considered state of the art.  The tunes you would hear were the ones which you could really dance to such as Voyage's "Souvenirs" and Alicia Bridges' "I Love The Nightlife", the stuff you would hear on Bacolod's FM station, Magik 103.1.  

Once in awhile, Spectrum would take on that Studio 54 feel with Seventh Avenue's "Midnight In Manhattan", perhaps owing to the sophisticated and well-traveled tastes of the owners.  Amidst, all these, no other song stood out more prominently in my memory than "September" of Earth, Wind, and Fire.



When "September" played, you know that the party was really on.  The spirit of Maurice White and his troop Earth, Wind and Fire would permeate Spectrum Disco with dance contagion to a point wherein the dance floor was no longer a dance floor but a stuffed elevator. 

For this I would dare say that despite all the other tunes Bacolod people get to associate Spectrum Disco with, no other song takes them back in time to this one magical place than "September". 

The genius of Maurice White changed the entire sound of a generation. Even David Foster had this to say about him, "A man who taught me more about making music, about decency, about calmness, about well-being, and about the true spirit of music. The least of his accomplishments is that he is my mentor."


Maurice White, many people are saying that you will be missed.  Then again, can anyone actually miss you?  You will always be alive when "September", the anthem of Spectrum Disco, plays on and on and on in every party.






-el Talonggo


 









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