The Music of Ryan Cayabyab starts off celebrations at the CCP

LIVE FEED - Bibsy M. Carballo (The Philippine Star) - May 7, 2014 - 12:00am

We have always been a fan and follower of Ryan “Mr. C” Cayabyab for as long as we can remember, from those years when he used to give mini-concerts at the Mandaluyong residence of Celia Diaz Laurel to more recent shows and events. So when it was announced that ABS-CBN would be putting on a tribute show to Ryan, titled The Music of Ryan Cayabyab, there was no way we would miss it.

 A night of celebration on the eve of his 60th birthday, The Music of Ryan Cayabyab marked yet another milestone in the Maestro’s musical journey as it unveiled 23 of his compositions, some big hits and others not as popular but still consistent with Mr. C’s love for music. As we sat down on our seats in the main theater of the CCP, a venue so large it was normally only booked for ballet performances, foreign shows with gigantic audience reservations like the recent performances of the Broadway musical Wicked in Manila, we were astounded by the crowd that came to watch Ryan’s showcase of compositions.

Apparently, this was just the beginning of these tribute shows as revealed by Chris Millado, VP and artistic director of the CCP. Or better yet, it could be described as a sampling, a patikim of what was to come to cover the entire remaining months dubbed Mr. C at 60, A Musical Celebration. Starting it off is an evening of sacred music on June 11; a re-staging of Agnes Locsin’s modern dance piece set to music, July 25 to 27; a talk-back on Mr. C’s life in music, Oct 22; Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere with libretto by Bien Lumbera, Oct 23 to 24; a grand choral recital on Oct. 25; and a reinvention of Filipino folk songs on Nov. 14. All we can say is that the CCP will reverberate with the music of Mr. C, and we can expect an avalanche of students, especially since the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival is set to celebrate its 10th anniversary this year.

Going back to The Music of Ryan Cayabyab, the sampling, we watched at the CCP was a night of glamour with a stage filled with some of ABS-CBN’s greatest singers dressed to the nines in well-pressed barongs and flowing evening gowns. It was an evening to celebrate a legend in songwriting. The man of the hour joked that the soirée was akin to that of the Oscars, a generous contradiction to the songwriter’s incredibly down-to-earth nature, a feat in itself considering Mr. C’s numerous achievements. Indeed, at the end of the quick two-hour song-filled show, across the stage stood an incredible array of talent. From Kuh Ledesma, Basil Valdez and Celeste Legaspi to Ogie Alcasid, Piolo Pascual and Martin Nievera, these were Mr. C’s muses. They were also among those who had had the honor of having one of his/her songs arranged especially for them.

Celeste exalted how when she first heard Limang Dipang Tao, she felt this would be an amazing song to sing. When it fell on her lap, it was only natural that the two would become great friends. She joked now that the composer is ninong to her child, and she is ninang to his. But it wasn’t only Celeste, Ryan had touched, but also Gerard Salonga, ABS-CBN’s Orchestra conductor who met Mr. C at an early age.

“All I could think of was, ‘I hope he doesn’t hate this,’” says Gerard referring to the special arrangement he made for Tsismis, part of Mr. C’s album One. At the end of the performance, we saw Mr. C standing and applauding from his seat. He later congratulated Gerard, saying, “I thought I heard Bernstein!” We can imagine how Gerard felt.

We loved the Katy de la Cruz medley honoring the erstwhile Queen of the Bodabil era which gave birth to Mr. C’s Ang Mundo’y Entablado and Minsan ang Minahal ay Ako which featured Mitch Valdes and Celeste Legaspi in a duet. How we wished Isay Alvarez could have joined the duo since she was the original Katy in the musical version.

Paraiso performed by the Ryan Cayabyab Singers brought back the era of the Smokey Mountain group of singers that included the likes of Geneva Cruz and Jeffrey Hidalgo. The background music of the film Ang Lalake sa Buhay ni Selya, on the other hand, brought back memories of its erotic tale starring Rosanna Roces, Ricky Davao, Gardo Versoza and Allan Paule in the late ‘90s.

This was certainly a night to remember. Mr. C admitted that it would be difficult to gather together another group of talented individuals such as this.

(E-mail your comments to bibsyfotos@yahoo.com or text us at 09178991835.)

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