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Some enchanted evening

That was how tenor Dr. George Yang (left) and the 22 KMF (Klassikal Music Foundation) scholars turned the evening at their One with the Stars concert
 

Towards the end of One with the Stars (on Segment 5), the concert marking the 10th anniversary of Klassikal Music Foundation (KMF) staged last Oct. 12 at the Globe Auditorium of Maybank Performing Arts Theater (BGC Arts Center, Taguig City), KMF chairman/founder Dr. George Yang appeared onstage and launched into a soulful rendition of Just Say I Love Her, followed by Amigos Para Siempre and Con Te Partiro, in a voice so full, so vibrant, so pure and so powerful that, not that he needed to, he could stun singers half his age.

Close your eyes and simply focus on the fluid facility and crystal-clarity with which George (recognized as one of the country’s most sought-after tenors) articulated every word and every note of every song (whether in English or Spanish) and you would be amazed how somebody in his late 70s (as George would unabashedly admit) could still sound so exuberant, so youthful. The audience gave George a thunderous applause that reverberated in the four corners of the venue…including George’s wife Kristine Yang; Danny Dolor; Fred Elizalde and wife Lisa Macuja; drummer Jun Regalado (mentor of George’s son Kenneth) and wife Monina; former Ambassador to Spain Lani Bernardo and wife Conchitina; Honorary Consul for Monaco Fortune Aleta-Ledesma; and Consuls Agnes Huibonhua, Millie Ablaza and Luis Ablaza; and KMF president Dr. Raul Sunico.

The well-attended concert showcased not only George’s musical prowess but also those of 22 KMF scholars Stephanie Anne Aguilar, Renz Nathaniel Cruz, Vidagrace Kahlil Mirang, Christian Nagaño, Jan Kevin Cuizon, Vincent Olandesca, Marie Anne Dominese, Amanda Nicole Pugeda, Barrely Espina, Jade Rubis Riccio, Isaac Ishmael Iglesias, Jasmin Salvo, Camille Maica Juanitez, Jhomerita Chua-So, Leo Angelo Lanuza, Cloi Daphnie Sugano, Lorenz Lloyd Lapresca, Katrine Jamar Sunga, Gereberne Lozada, Krissan Manikan-Tan, Belford Mabunga and Jane Florence Wee.

Together with George, they made that Thursday’s two hours and a half an enchanted evening with their heavenly voices that beautifully blended in a repertoire of opera favorites (Bohemian Rhapsody, etc.) and pop songs (in contrast to the mostly arias in the KMF’s Songs from a Silver World last year) rendered classically, such as Colors of the Wind, Every Breath You Take, Alicia Keys’ Girl On Fire, Julio Iglesias’ To All The Girls I Loved Before, Bruno Mars’ Versace on the Floor, Jessie J’s Flashlight, Sia’s Chandelier and, why not, Despacito.

Oh yes, special guest performer Daryl Ong sang How Did You Know (originally sung by Chiqui Pineda and popularized by Gary Valenciano in a Star Cinema movie starring Aga Muhlach and Kristine Hermosa) with an infectiously intense emotion, straight from the heart (and not just from the vocal cords as some singers do), that made Danny Dolor and me hum (quietly now!) in harmony.

According to George, (McDonald’s Philippines founder and chairman) who founded KMF in 2007, the title of the night’s concert was inspired by a line from the musical Fame.

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“Similar to the message that the musical conveys,” George was quoted in the souvenir program, “our singers continue to reach for their goals and we are confident that they will be stars in their own right and will hold their own in a highly competitive industry.”

Actually, the 22 scholars are already stars in their own right as they amply proved in the concert which they enlivened with feel-good voices at once soothing and invigorating. No, they didn’t just stand there singing, they moved around in gentle choreography (take a bow, Rudy de Dios and Anselmo Dictado of Ballet Manila) highlighted by a magical play of lights (take a bow, John Batalla!) and neatly-changing visuals on the background monitor that enhanced instead of distracted. Three cheers, too, for Andrew Fernando, the KMF artistic director who is an internationally-acclaimed baritone and opera singer.

“For almost 10 years,” said George, “we have supported the education of close to 60 gifted classical music students. We remain committed to providing means to our deserving students. We will continue to uphold our mission to help our scholars, provide the support and encouragement that our extraordinarily talented youth need to achieve their dreams, and help our scholars transcend the limitations that may hinder them from sharing their talents with our world.”

(Aside from Dr. George Yang and Dr. Raul Sunico, the other board members of Klassikal Music Foundation [KMF] are Regal Matriarch Lily Monteverde, Dr. Raul Navarro, Rachelle Gerodias-Park and Gerard Salonga.)

(E-mail reactions at entphilstar@yahoo.com. For more updates, photos and videos, visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo@therealrickylo.)

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