Vince suspends us in mid-air

LIVE FEED - Bibsy M. Carballo (The Philippine Star) - September 30, 2013 - 12:00am

We have known Vince de Jesus for as long as we remember. He would text us whenever he would win an award for Best Musical theme, the Manunuri Film Award, the Star Award, the Gawad Tanglaw and the Palanca Award until we texted him back that it was getting to be boring and that he should try something else. But he has not. Music is in his veins as composer, musical scorer, librettist and musical director. He did try at times to act and host a TV show as in GMA’s Wipeout Matira ang Matibay with Paolo Contis.

But it is really in composition where his heart belongs. He has scored more than 200 plays and TV shows, including our favorite May Bukas Pa which made Santino a household name, the Kokey series and Kimmy Dora.

One cannot talk of Vince without mentioning Zsazsa Zaturnnah, the comic book super heroine created by Carlo Vergara. When Tanghalang Pilipino adapted it into a musical, it turned viral. With Chris Martinez for stage adaptation, Chris Millado for stage direction, and Vince for lyrics, composition and musical direction, it became Tanghalang’s longest-running production with 91 shows. Its film adaptation Zsazsa Zaturnnah Ze Moveeh gave it still another dimension.

Vince continued on his winning streak with the Best Original Song for Ikaw Ang Superhero ng Buhay Ko from Golden Screen; a Gawad Tanglaw award for Multo ng Nakaraan; Best Original Score for Film from Star Awards; an Urian award for Best Musical Achievement; and Best Achievement in Music from the Film Academy.

Then there is Himala, the Musical, that Vince co-wrote with Ricky Lee, originator of the iconic Ishmael Bernal-Nora Aunor film. As composer and music arranger, Vince says, “The musical deals with faith and faithlessness — how Filipinos, in times of trouble, turn to religion for comfort.”

Last week, he invited us to the album launch of Songs to Slash Your Wrist By. Held at the reception area of PETA instead of at the theater area as was the norm, the album appears to bring together Vince’s favored compositions.He did admit that composer Christine Bendebel and personal booking agent Ricky Gallardo constantly pressured him to work on the album. It appears they succeeded for he really put his heart and soul into the project. From the black flowers he put on the center table, to the Baby Grand near the stairs that served as the stage, to the audience split between those sitting in front of the piano and those on tables drinking wine, Vince had thought of everything.

The album program with song list was a work of art, and the singers chosen to be interpreters for the evening were the very best. They were composed of Daryl Ong, Daryl Reyes, Myke Salomon, Gail Blanco, OJ Mariano and those we were familiar with like Sweet Plantado of The CompanY, Jett Pangan, Kalila Aguilos, Noel Cabangon and Vince himself. Only Aiza Seguerra who was sick failed to make it to the launch.

As for the choice of songs, there are all heart-rending, and when someone asked why, Vince skirted the issue. Our personal favorites are Saan Ba Nagsimula, Suspended in Mid-Air and Twenty Four Years Old which Vince sang while accompanying himself on the piano. All three spoke of unrequited love which not a few in the audience connected with. We love the tongue-in-cheek story of falling for one much younger. “How juvenile this feeling that I feel. An infantile emotion, it’s surreal… For I’m in love with someone who is 24 years old!” Another, Saan Ba Nagsimula sung by Myke Salomon, repeats the sense of wonder that love brings. “Hindi ko nga alam saan ba nagsimula, Saan nga ba nanggaling? Biglang-bigla na lang, Pag-ibig di mapigilan.”

But our very favorite is Suspended in Mid-Air delivered by OJ. “In my dreams, I have seen you, I remember your face. Though you’ve never even touched me, I can feel your embrace… If this is a dream, it all seems so real. So this is how it feels like to be Suspended in Mid-Air.” When people ask him what will follow the senti Songs to Slash your Wrist by, he assures that there will be a part two. For his consummate combination of lyrics and music, we can thank Vince. It is a gift he has been given, and has chosen to share with the world. Thank you, Vince, for the gift!

(E-mail your thoughts to bibsyfotos@yahoo.com.)

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