By Abner Galino
To be sexy, bubbly and sophisticated, all at once on stage,requires more than talent. In other words, not an easy feat – except if one is endowed with a face (which is a toss between a teenager and a full-blown woman) and a charisma such that of Anna Maria Perez de Tagle.
Escorted to the stage by no other than Maestro Robert “Bob” Shroder, the principal conductor of the Filipino-American Symphony Orchestra (FASO), Anna Maria was stunning in a purple figure-hugging mermaid-type gown.
Accompanied by the 60-piece FASO ensemble, Anna Maria went on to sing two Broadway songs “On my own” (Les Miserables) and “I enjoy Being a Girl” (Flower Drum Song), both ofwhich enthralled the crowd. But she left the stage to give way to her Lola Sylvia La Torre who sung two Kundiman songs (Diyos Lamang ang Nakakaalam and Nasaan Ka Irog) in an operatic style of singing that she has been known for.
Anna Mariakept the energy going when she returned to do her own an operatic style rendition of an archaic treasure titled “Bituing Marikit.”
A duet between Sylvia and Anna Maria to the bouncy melody of “Sa Kabukiran,” another Filipino music heirloom,unhinged all the happy emotionsthat have been building up.
The duo got the loudest standing ovation of the night.
As expected, Sylvia provided the humor to a night of sophisticated music, adroitly inserting the wits during breaks between songs – with Anna Maria showing off her own prowess on humor in a brief exchanges of gags with her Lola before they sung together.
Sylvia rose to prominence as of the mainstays of the popular 1960s comedy TV sit-com titled “Tang-tarang-tang.”
FASO’s summer family concert last Saturday at the John Wayne Performing Center in Glendale was anchored on a 1936 musical for children titled “Peter and the Wolf” which written by Russian composer Sergei Prokopiev.
Joan Almedilla brilliantly narrated the text while the symphony orchestra played along, providing musical representations to sounds of animals, movements and emotions.
FASO’s executions of the compositions were brilliant. In fact, if it was any indication of the musical’s potency: siblings Ezekiel and Elliana Nicdao; aged 6 and 5; respectively – who tagged along with their newshen and Moonlighter Lola Mylah de Leon – were both kept at bay, still on their seats and obviously spellbound.
The performances of Mikaela Bautista, Christina Blay, Vinnie Aguas and the FASO Children’s Ensemble were also worth mentioning.
In an interview shortly after the concert, Maestro Shroder particularly praised the performances of Sylvia and Anna Maria.
“The energy was so high, there was so much excitement even among us who were accompanying them,” Shroder recalled.
Shroder went on to thank the FASO musicians and as well as the volunteers who helped in the success of the concert.
“And to all our supporters, please continue to support us. Maraming salamat po,” Shroder said.
FASO also played musical score hits from Star Wars Episode IV, namely: Throne Room and End Title.
The gowns worn by Sylvia and Anna Maria were created by noted Beverly Hills based Fil-Am fashion designer Oliver Tolentino.
Author: Abner GalinoThe author is a poet and a writer. He was a cultural worker before he became a reporter for Tinig ng Masa and Malaya Midday Edition during the Marcos regime. He later became a reporter of People’s Tonight shortly after 1986 EDSA Revolution. He went on to become its Chief of Reporters, City Editor and News Editor. He retired after 15 years in the Journal Group of Publications. He now writes for Weekend Balita and the US Asian Post (USAP), weekly Filipino-American newspapers based in Los Angeles, California.