SAN JOSE, Calif. – George Gange has played the rondalla for five decades and continues to be passionate about it — spending most of his free time playing for free to anyone who may need good music in their lives.
This 59-year old frequents nursing facilities like the Amberwood Gardens in San Jose, California. He said, “If I can make people happy, especially the sick and the elderly, it also makes me feel better.”
Gange is not a musician by trade. He retired from the U.S. Navy and served during the Vietnam War. He also worked with the U.S. Postal Service for 15 years before retiring in 2009.
But he is a musician by choice. He founded the FilAm Veterans Rondalla in 1998 — in an effort to bring together kababayans who dedicated their lives to the U.S. Armed Forces.
The group performs at community events and has raised tens of thousands of dollars through their music for worthwhile causes…among them helping underserved children in the Philippines and victims of natural calamities back home such as typhoon Ondoy.
Gange said, “It’s good for us to show that military personnel are always ready to serve the people.”
In 2010, Gange brought his passion for the rondalla to the next level. He created the nonprofit organization, Pagyamanin Likas Musika, which donates rondalla and other musical instruments to struggling schools and communities in the Philippines. He said, “If we lift up struggling kababayans and they become successful, this will bring progress to our nation.”
Besides being busy with his rondalla duties, Gange is a devoted family man. He has been married for close to 40 years, a father to two sons and a grandfather to four.
He is also a commissioner for the San Jose International Airport. Gange said, “I am not rich materially by any means. But we should share our time and talent to the community.”
For using music to bring joy to the world and to bring much-needed help to noble causes, George Gange is a true Filipino champion — Pinoy na maipagmamalaki.
TFC and Balitang America are honoring successful kababayans in North America through its ongoing series called “The Filipino Champions: Mga Pinoy na Maipagmamalaki.” If you know anyone who deserves to be featured, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Write The Filipino Champion in the subject line.