Champs sing for Yolanda victims
SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil (The Philippine Star) - March 14, 2014 - 12:00am

It would be really nice if the first local reality show singing champion can also be there but Sarah Geronimo is busy with her own tight schedule. So is the other champ Rachelle Ann Go who was recruited by producer Cameron MacKintosh himself to be in the cast of the upcoming revival of the musical Miss Saigon in London. No matter though, there are still more than enough champions left behind to provide the music and the glamor in the Gathering of Champions show at the Solaire Resort and Casino on Sunday, March 16.

On hand to perform will be Asia’s Pop Idol Christian Bautista; Star in a Million grand champion Erik Santos; Pop Heartthrob Mark Bautista; the Crystal Voice of Asia Sheryn Regis; and the top girls from The Voice of the Philippines, Klarisse de Guzman and Morisette Amon. They will be joined by the lovely actress Cristine Reyes, who is no singing champion but certainly looks like one. She will do a sizzling dance number with the G-Force Dancers. And then, there is American Idol runner-up Jessica Sanchez, a true singing champion who will be back in town for a brief visit and will join the show.

The occasion is the first anniversary of the opening of Solaire. But instead of simply celebrating, the fabulous Resort and Casino has decided to have fun and music for a worthy cause. The grand concert A Gathering of Champions will be held not only to show appreciation for the continued patronage by Solaire’s loyal clients but also as part of Solaire’s continuing effort to help in the rehabilitation of the victims of Typhoon Yolanda. And having Jessica perform together with our champions and Cristine is certainly a great way to bring in the crowd.

Now, it is not only Solaire who is on a continuous fund-raising binge to help bring the ravaged areas of the country back to their feet. So is Jessica herself, who may be an American Idol but is of Filipino descent. In partnership with the record label Decca and Universal Music Classics, $0.90 out of every sale of her latest recording, Lead Me Home, will be donated to the Red Cross to benefit the victims of Typhoon Yolanda. The single was released last month. It can be downloaded online via SPINNR (The One-Stop Music Portal for All Your Music Needs) or from iTunes.

The inspiring song is the first single from the forthcoming original cast recording of Heartbeat of Home, a new music and dance spectacular with music by the Grammy, Oscar and Golden Globe winning David Byrne and lyrics by the award-winning writer Joseph O’Connor. Byrne, formerly founder and frontman of the avant garde rock band Talking Heads, also wrote Here Lies Love, the much-lauded disco opera that was inspired by the life of former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos. Heartbeat of Home though tackles a larger scope and boasts of a wide and diverse array of musical influences. The show blends the drama of Irish dance with the sultry Latin American salsa and the thundering rhythms of Africa.

Heartbeat of Home had its North American premiere last January in Toronto, Canada. This will be followed by performances in Chicago, Detroit and Boston this month and later in other places in the US. I do not know if Jessica will be in any of these shows but it was certainly nice to find out that she has now worked with the great Byrne in a beautiful, demanding song that ideally shows off her fantastic vocal range and for what became a charity release, too.

Also at Solaire: Abbamania, the internationally-renowned ABBA tribute show, will be back in the country in response to the insistent public demand from those who missed it last year and from those who want to make sure they will not miss it this time around.

Abbamania will be performing at the Solaire Grand Ballroom on March 21. Enjoy the experience of what a real ABBA concert must have been like as you thrill and dance to nearly two hours of ABBA music with these memorable hits.

Waterloo, Money Money, Take A Chance On Me, One Last Summer, The Winner Takes It All, Knowing Me Knowing You, Dancing Queen, Mamma Mia, Lay All Your Love On Me, Super Trouper, I Have A Dream, S.O.S., Chiquitita, Fernando, Voulez Vous, Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight), Does Your Mother Know, The Name Of The Game, Dance (While The Music Still Goes On), Honey Honey, I Do I Do I Do I Do I Do, Our Last Summer, Thank You For The Music and many others.

Abbamania will also be at the Plenary Hall of the PICC on Roxas Boulevard on March 22. These shows will be followed by other performances at the Baguio Country Club in Baguio City on March 25; at the Waterfront, Cebu City Hotel and Casino, March 27; at the L.L. Macias Sports & Cultural Center in Dumaguete City, March 28; and then also March 30 at the Lagao Gym in General Santos City.

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