Pinoy children’s choir in Jeddah wows international community
RONALDO CONCHA, GMANews.TV02/12/2009 02:28 PM
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JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia - Almost a thousand expatriates from America, Japan, France, India, Philippines, and other Arab nationals were blown away by the performance of a Filipino children’s choir in Jeddah on Friday night.
Sereneta – a choir of students aged 8 to 14 years old from different Filipino schools in the coastal city by the Red Sea – elicited a standing ovation during a benefit concert at the American International School of Jeddah on Friday.
“This group is a model organization as they uphold their noble cause and vision. They are an inspiration to the Filipino Community in the Philippines and here abroad," said the Philippine consul general in Jeddah, Ezzedin Tago, who had been present in many performances of Serenata.
Riyadh-based Philippine ambassador Antonio Villamor, said he did not regret attending the event.“The beauty of the show is not only for the good cause but mainly the children, with their young age, performed a world class show," he said.
Foreign diplomats among the audience were impressed with the three-hour concert titled “Serenata…with strings attached," directed by Kiel Erida, that interpreted a variety of songs, including modern and traditional English, Filipino, and other foreign songs.
US Consul General Martin Quinn said that he enjoyed every minute of the show, adding that it was “a wonderful performance."“If I [knew] that it was a splendid performance I've should have told everybody I know to come tonight. it was so good to see the talented children and their talented teacher giving a performance like this one and it makes me homesick in a way to see this wonderful performance tonight, thank you for inviting me," he said.
Japanese Consul General Toshimitsu Ishugure said that even though it was the first time he saw the choir perform, “I can honestly say that the Filipino community has a great asset in its children."“The show was wonderful," he added.
Dr. Mark English, superintendent of American International School of Jeddah, said he “thoroughly enjoyed the show."“I am looking forward to the coming year and hopefully we can do it year after year to support this worthy cause," he said.
The choir started the show with their rendition of “Something’s Coming Tonight" from the Westside Story, after which it brought the audience back to the past by singing songs from the 70’s and 80’s like “Let It Be Me," “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again," “Build Me Up, Buttercup," and “Mamma Mia." Intermission numbers were also performed by Liza Torico and Adel Tanamor by playing the songs “Someone to Watch Over Me" and “Nessun Dorma" (No One Sleeps) on the flute and piano.
Serenata did not forget to include classic Filipino songs like “Nais Ko," “Paraiso," “Anak," and “Liman-Dipang Tao." Meanwhile, the Serenata String Chamber Orchestra (SSCO) rendered mellow songs such as “Feelings," “Love Me Tender", “Kailangan Kita," “Singin’ in the Rain," and Filipino folksongs “Manang Biday," “Ili-ili Tulog Anay," and “ Bayan Ko" in the last parts of the concert.
For their final number, Serenata sang Barry Manilow’s “One Voice," wowing the audience even more.Charo Hipos, chairman of the group, also said that the group has yet to showcase its full potential yet.“For those who wanted to see more about Serenata, while the Lord [continues] to guide and bless us, the best of Serenata is yet to come," she said.
Sylvia Delos Santos, musical director of Serenata Children Choir and Serenata String Chamber Orchestra, expressed her gratitude to all the Serenata family, sponsors, and guests who attended the benefit concert. “I was so blessed for having talented members of the group.
The Lord has been so good to us, and we at the same time, reciprocate his goodness by giving to the needy, with the voices and talents of the kids as God’s instrument," she said.
The parents of the members of Serenata also said that they were very proud that their children are part of a group that explores and hones their talents and at the same time extends assistance to the needy in the Philippines.
The beneficiaries of the concert in the Philippines are Cristel Nicolas from Marikina Science Highschool in Marikina City, Rotsen Jay Medina and Radzma I. Abdulhalim from Zamboanga City Highschool in Zamboanga City, and Jamera Libron from Emar Learning Center in Davao City.The proceeds will reportedly be used to pay for the college education of the four children mentioned.
Serenata is a non-stock, non-profit, cause-oriented organization in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia founded in 2005 through the pioneering efforts of Sylvia delos Santos, Desil Manapat, and Louis Bautista.It consists of a working committee, an artist committee, a String Chamber Orchestra and a Choral group composed of 45 children of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW).
The 2008-2009 Choir members of Serenata are Anthony R. Ogden, David Savio S. delos Santos, Dwight D. Jarina, Eijan Aaron Dungo, Eunise Dominique Alvarina, Fern Roshan D. Castro, Geneva Adrienne P. Rabang, Geraldine A. Valle, John Yves B. Santos, Kristine Jade Manalo;Ma. Katrina La Treece R. Tabbu, Maribelle Katrin P.Zuyco, Micah Abigail D. Jarina, Miguel Adrian S. delos Santos, Paula Christine G. Reyes, Pauline Ingrid de Silva, Raphael Louis Y. Hipos, Ronalaine Elaine R. Crisostomo and Sheena Loran O. Calvento; Allyana Marie P. Exevea, Dareen Ali Maula, Ariane Justine Roldan, Francine Jalac, Giane, KlaireDubozet, Julia Wyna C. Daluz, Khailah May P. Solis, Kim Lizette S. Gonzaga, Kristine Bernadette P. Solis, Krizzia Marie P. Exevea, Lea P. Perez, Ma. Angelica N. Sapno;Maegan Jasmin A. Cruz, Melhanie Angely S. Mandap, Rica Joy G. Tang and Winona Marie T. Flores.Anna Yasmine E. Bautista, Liza M. Torrico and Marie Dominique E. Bautista Majdolene Kamal Abu Alfaraj, and Mayan Kamal Abu Alfaraj.
The members of the Artistic Committee are Sylvia delos Santos (Musical Director), Reneegrace "Gigi" Villarosa-Divina (Dance Associate), Ahjid Sayas (Voice Associate) while the members of the Working Committee are Louis Bautista, Charo Hipos, Ardel Hipos, Chato Bautista, Teddy delos Santos, Donna Rico, Kiel Erida, Willie Flores, Alfonso Chacon, Chito Divina, Charles Tabbu, Lolit Cua, Joe Gotuato, Joy Gutuato, Apolinar Gusi, Elmer Rico, Juliet Sayas, and Sonny Duque. The show’s sponsors were Western Union, Pinehill Arabia food limited (Toya Instant Noodles), LapazBatchoy, Philippine Sunrise International School, Sky Freight, and the American International School in Jeddah. - with Kimberly Jane T. Tan, GMANews.TV