In Memoriam: Melvin Corpin, 55 An unexpected farewell to a celebrated virtuoso
By Maxinne B. Vergara
Melvin Corpin, a musical maestro well-loved in Tacloban City and Eastern Visayas who led the choir during the Papal Mass of Pope Francis there in 2015 and who helped pave the way for the next generation of Leyteño and Samarnon musicians, passed away Friday, May 11, after battling a rare type of cancer. He was 55.
Surrounded by his loving family, Corpin died in his home in Las Vegas, Nevada at 12:15 p.m. local time, according to his colleagues in the non-profit organization Waraynon Initiative Network in the United States.
He is survived by his wife, Carla, and their four children: Meldian, Carlvian, Mel Carlo, and Carl Marchel.
A frequent performer in local events and especially post-Typhoon “Yolanda” fundraisers, Melvin was born to the late Bautista and Lourdes Gler Corpin on March 25, 1963, in Caibiran, Biliran.
Gifted with musical talent at an early age, he began playing the piano at the age of four. By age 10, Corpin had begun composing and arranging music. Throughout his lifetime, he would write and arrange over 500 songs, including church hymns, choral arrangements, and award-winning compositions.
Corpin graduated cum laude from Leyte Normal University in Tacloban City with a Bachelor of Arts in Music. After graduating, he began organizing concerts and choirs from various parishes, schools, and organizations.
He essentially taught a generation of musicians and choirs around Eastern Visayas during his years in the region and is fondly remembered as being the first voice teacher or mentor for many.
In 2008, he moved to the United States with his family, serving as the music director of St. Monica Church in Carpentersville, Illinois for four years. He also served as the music director for Our Lady of the Valley Roman Catholic Church in Pahrump, Nevada prior to his death.
Melvin was a founding member of the non-profit organization WIN based in Southern California. He served as the Vice President of Ensemble, Training and Development and was key in overseeing WIN’s concerts as the music and artistic director: “Ha Imo La” (For You Alone) in 2014, “Lamrag” (Ray of Light) in 2015, “Halad” (Offering) in 2016 and “Kabilin” (Legacy) in 2017.
As music director, he led the WIN Chorale and WIN Orchestra.
Corpin was commissioned as the music director of the 250-member Grand Choir of the Archdiocese of Palo at the Papal Mass held on Jan. 17, 2015 officiated by Pope Francis for the survivors of “Yolanda” or Super Typhoon “Haiyan.” Most of the music heard at the Papal Mass were original liturgical compositions Corpin wrote himself.
Known by many for his musical genius, Corpin was always passionate about passing it forward and encouraging the next generation of musicians to take pride in their heritage and their love of music.
Holy Mass will be held on Saturday, May 19 at 10 a.m. at Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church, 781 East Gamebird Road, Pahrump, Nevada. A memorial service will follow at 2 p.m. at La Paloma Funeral Services, 5450 Stephanie St., Las Vegas, Nevada.
Melvin’s ashes will be brought to the Philippines later this month and will be laid to rest beside his loving parents.