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Filipino American Symphony Orchestra celebrates Jose Mari Chan’s music

Baby A. Gil - The Philippine Star
Filipino American Symphony Orchestra celebrates Jose Mari Chanâs music
The Filipino American Symphony Orchestra will be making its first in-person performance in almost three years. Titled Celebration, this will be held at the Music Center’s Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California on Aug. 20. Set to be celebrated is Jose Mari Chan (left) as a singer and songwriter and his music of the past 55 years.
STAR / File

Looks like Los Angeles will be stealing the march from us. What I mean is as far as getting Jose Mari Chan out of his annual hibernation this year. You see it has now become almost a tradition that JMC will make his most important appearance of the year in early September.

This is because that is when Pinoys can “legally” show off their love for the Christmas season.  Anything pertaining to Christmas earlier is usually frowned upon. But come September, it will be officially the right time to enjoy the sound of Jose Mari Chan and his enchanting Christmas in our Hearts once again.

The reason for this is, that is when the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra or the FASO as it is familiarly known, will be making its first in-person performance in almost three years.  Titled Celebration, this will be held at the Music Center’s Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California on Aug. 20 at seven o’clock in the evening.

Set to be celebrated is Jose Mari Chan as a singer and songwriter and his music of the past 55 years. JMC began his professional career in 1967 with the release of his single Afterglow. The ensuing years found him creating songs that turned into massive hits and which earned him several Diamond Music Awards. Note that a Diamond is equal to 10 Platinum Awards. That means millions of copies in sales.

Among the most popular are Can We Just Stop and Talk a While, Refrain, Deep in My Heart, Beautiful Girl, A Love to Last a Lifetime, Please Be Careful with My Heart, Constant Change, My Girl My Woman My Friend, Afraid for Love to Fade, Tell Me Your Name, Can We Start All Over Again, Here and Now, Sing Me Your Song Again Daddy, Love at Thirty Thousand Feet and the Yuletide tunes that have now become classics, A Perfect Christmas, Going Home to Christmas and the legendary tune in every sense of the word, Christmas in our Hearts.

I do not know what the FASO repertoire will be on that special evening but it will be mainly the works of Jose Mari Chan. The only Filipino artist who ever performed at the hall was Lea Salonga, a true Disney princess. I also do not know if she included a song or two by a local songwriter in her show line-up. If not then, Celebration will be the first time when the Disney Hall will resound with Filipino music.

I have a feeling that although it is still early in the day, Christmas in our Hearts will be among the numbers to be performed. There is no way they can miss out on that song. It is a true gift of the season, one that just keeps on giving year after year after year. You can even expect a spontaneous sing-along once the familiar melody starts to play.

Led by Maestro Robert Shroder, the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra is considered an avenue of cultural growth for the youth. It aims to foster love and pride in one’s native music as well as in the Filipino identity. Aside from those, it also provides learning opportunities for students of all ages and abilities, most specially for the underprivileged young people.

Also set to perform will be the award-winning Philippine Meistersingers. Formerly known as the Adventist University of the Philippines Ambassadors, the group has brought its wide-ranging repertoire of classical, contemporary and sacred music to concerts around the world. It was named the Choir of the World and winner of the Luciano Pavarotti trophy at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod Festival held in 2011 in Wales, United Kingdom.

Of course, the man of the evening, Jose Mari Chan, will be present at the Disney Hall for the tribute.

JOSE MARI CHAN

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