Corazon Arevalo Coo
Corazon (Cora) Arevalo Coo, a pianist and music educator from the Philippines, now residing in California, continues to teach piano to children, teenagers, and adult beginners. A number of her students, including her three children, have enjoyed considerable success as performers and music teachers.
Cora was born and raised in the Philippines, the eldest of seven children of Mercedes Roda and Eliseo P. Arevalo, a pioneer Seventh-day Adventist music educator, among siblings who were club musicians. She and her six siblings were surrounded with music and have been involved in the performing arts in varying capacities. The family's interest and activities in music have continued into the next generation, giving them a reputation as a group of outstanding musicians.
Cora began piano study at an early age with her father. Not sure what course to take in college, she heeded her father's advice and pursued music, graduating cum laude in piano performance from Philippine Women's University in 1962. She returned for additional studies at PWU and graduated magna cum laude in music education in 1967.
Following completion of her first degree, she was immediately hired to teach piano and help in other ways at Philippine Union College, now Adventist University of the Philippines. As a classroom teacher she taught music in the elementary and secondary levels, as well as required music classes for education and ministerial undergraduates. Upon completion of the second degree, she became chair of the music department, a position she would hold until she decided to pursue graduate studies at Andrews University. Blythe Owen visited PUC in1968, where she gave a performance and master class and listened to local musical presentations. During this visit she persuaded Cora to attend AU.
With the help of a Weniger and PEO scholarship and income from hours working in the library, music department, and Lamson Hall, Cora was able to complete an M.Mus. in music education in 1970. She was a frequent accompanist and sang in the choirs, studied piano under Hans-Jørgen Holman, organ under C. Warren Becker, and voice under Rudolf Strukoff and James Hanson and gave a piano recital as part of her requirements for the degree. She stayed for another year at AU, taking classes from Raymond Moore, Ruth Murdoch and Becker, wanting to further prepare herself for her responsibilities in the Philippines,
Cora resumed teaching at Philippine Union College in November 1971. In the next ten years at the college, she served as chair from 1972 to 1976, while she taught piano, music theory, and history, as well as pedagogy classes and conducted choirs when her services were needed. In 1973, she married Joselito Coo, a Bible teacher at PUC who later became an M.D. (General Surgery) and served in various places as a missionary doctor.
In 1982, Cora withdrew from teaching at PUC to spend more time as a mother to her three children and oversee their education. From 1982 to 1992 she ran a private music studio, Christian Music Education Center, and also taught at the Green Hills Music Studio from 1985 to 1992, where her children took their music lessons.
She returned to teach music at PUC in 1992 and the following year once again assumed leadership of the department, a position she held until her retirement and move to California in 2000. Since coming to the States, in addition to continuing to teach piano lessons, Coo has taught elementary music classes at White Memorial Adventist School and served as minister of music at the White Memorial Church for ten years. She also serves as Music Director at the Eagle Rock Presbyterian Church, a position she has held since 2001.
At present, Coo is an active member of the Music Teachers Association of California- Glendale Branch and the National Guild of Piano Teachers. She continues to learn by attending conventions, conferences, master classes, and concerts.
She states that the most gratifying aspect of her career has been working with exceptional students and witnessing their joy as educators and performers. It has been particularly satisfying for her to see the musical progress and evolving careers of her three children, Jonathan, Cecilia, and Victor, all of whom attended and graduated from the Philippine High School for the Arts before pursuing higher education in music performance.
Sources: IAMA biography sheet completed by subject and daughter, Cecilia, in December 2010. More complete information about Cecilia Alegere A. Coo-Cruz and Victor is provided in their IAMA biographies.