The ultimate music heroes
SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil (The Philippine Star) - March 29, 2017 - 12:00am

The first phase of the competition is over and here they are, the young musicians who won in the search for Music Heroes conducted by the noontime variety show Eat, Bulaga! It is quite a batch. They are so young, so talented and have already invested so much of their little lives into perfecting their art. And as any musician will tell you, there is no end to learning or staying at the top of your game. This is a lifelong commitment they have gotten themselves into.

And so here they are, Eat, Bulaga!’s Ultimate Music Heroes:

Keyboards Hero: Jim Tan, 17, from Atimonan, Quezon. He is a high school graduate and has been playing for eight years. He learned to play by helping his father who is a piano technician. He can also play the violin.

Violin Hero: Dominique Casacop, 18, from Santa Rosa, Laguna is the only female hero. She is a third year Information System student at De La Salle University. She comes from a family of musicians and has had formal lessons from childhood. She has now been playing for seven years. She can also play keyboards and guitar.

Acoustic Guitar Hero: Radlee Laquian, 16, from Tondo, Manila. He is in Grade 11 at the University of the East Caloocan. He comes from a family of musicians and was taught by his father. He has now been playing for seven years.

Electric Guitar Hero: Blaster Silonga, 17, from Marikina City. He is in Grade 11 at the Berean Crosspointe International School. He comes from a family of musicians and singers but taught himself via YouTube videos. He has been playing the guitar for six years. 

Bass Guitar Hero: Zild Benitez, 19, from Quezon City, second year Music Production student scholar at De La Salle College of Saint Benilde. He belongs to a family of musicians and has been playing for 13 years. He composes and produces songs for his band and can also play drums, keyboards and guitar.

Saxophone Hero: Josh Espinosa, 18, from Baras, Rizal. He is a second year Information Technology student at the University of Rizal System Binangonan. He has been playing for seven years, comes from a family of musicians and can also play drums. His grandfather taught him how to play saxophone.

Flute Hero: Brian Feliciano, 14, from Marilao, Bulacan is the youngest of the batch. He is a second year high school student at St. Paul College of Bocaue and has been playing for eight years. His father taught him how to play. He has performed with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra as a guest soloist and took a master class in flute in Indonesia.  He can also play the piccolo.

Drums: Joaquin Rodrigo, 18, from Tanauan City, Batangas. He is in Grade 11 at the Jesus Is Lord Christian School. He was taught by his father and has been playing for seven years. He can also play guitar, bass and keyboards.

Sad to say, the hero finalists for the classical guitar, trumpet, clarinet and other instruments did not make the final cut. I also feel bad for those who lost. I have favorites who did not make it and they also worked just as hard. I am sure that we will also hear more about them in the future. Hopefully, there will be one or two or three and maybe more of other instrumentalists in other contests.

The search for music heroes is a laudable effort. It was so heartening to watch these kids putting heart and soul in their music and enjoying themselves. I hope that Eat, Bulaga! keeps this up. It is about time that people realize that Filipinos are not only good singers, they are also extraordinary instrumentalists. With these music heroes, we have kids who will grow up and make important contributions to Filipino music.

I have just one beef about the process of the search. I do not think that different instruments should be made to compete against one another. This means that a violin is vastly different from the piano and the players should not be judged on the same level. This also goes for flutes and clarinets which while classified as reeds actually sound different and have their own places in an arrangement created for particular melodies.

All in all though, I enjoyed watching the contest so let us have more of it. 

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