Saturday 7 April 2012

From Songs of Worship to Mania: “One” and the “Coco/Maja/Angeline show” in Edmonton

Nov. 13 - Fourteen groups and artists gathered together in one big concert aptly titled “One” at the Gateway Alliance Church.  An evening of worship in music, dance and drama, it brought together groups of varying faith denominations and cultural background from different parts of Edmonton, with the desire to share their talent, and spiritual messages and experiences.  Worship, after all, is a community experience.
Participating groups were the: Christ Centred Mission Church, Church of the Holy Trinity Levites,  Filipino International Baptist Church, Gateway Worship Team, Gateway Youth,  Journey Youth Ministries of Journey with Christ Church, Pacific Island Dance Troupe, PureBride of Jesus is Lord, St. Dominique’s Couples for Christ, Soul 2 Soul; and crowd favorites, The Philippine Choral, Indonesian Christian Fellowships and artists Bernard Quilala and Wency Calderon.
Conceptualized by Dr. Leonila Mateo, despite just a month spent for planning, it produced an impressive amount of performers and audience.  Notwithstanding technical difficulties and programming gaps, the concert served its purpose of celebration, unity, forgiveness, redemption and faith.  The night ended with the song “God of this City”, with the words “For greater things have yet to come, and greater things are still to be done in this City” ringing in our heads, providing all the belief and strength needed to accomplish whatever we have set for ourselves in life.
Nov. 27 -  On a 3-day whirlwind concert tour in Canada (Nov. 25 in Saskatoon, Nov. 26 in Calgary), Coco Martin, Maja Salvador and Angeline Quinto performed to a jam packed audience at the River Cree Casino, Edmonton.  The three artists arrived at a luncheon straight from a road trip from Calgary for a “Meet and Greet” with the Edmonton guests, making their engagement at least a 5-hour performance (taking into account both the main concert and pre & post concert reception).  

The evening concert was like a reunion of sorts for us, with people greeting friends almost every 5 meters on their way to their seats.  It must have been the biggest gathering of Filipinos that I have witnessed.  Front act performers were Macky (who hails from Australia) and Darren Espanto (from Calgary and Pinoy Singing Sensation 2011 Champion).  And as expected, as soon as the house lights dimmed and spotlights descended on main feature opener Maja Salvador onstage, the mania started.

Coco Martin and Maja Salvador are both more known for their acting credits, with independent films and soap operas respectively, than for their live performance skills.  The duo, in fact, have no qualms hinting about their ‘pretensions of being a singer’ and capitalizing on their charms and physical attributes rather than their vocal prowess.  Nevertheless, entertain they did and much to the delight of their screaming and titillated fans.  Coco also related his experience of being a foreign worker in Alberta - endearing himself further to the already smitten crowd.  

The true talent of the concert was Angeline Quinto, who was impressive with her full voice, crystal clear pitch and unbelievable range.  The three stars, true stalwarts of their mother company, also did strong pitches for ABS-CBN’s flagship charity project, Bantay Bata.  
All in all, I was an audience for both the performances onstage and of the crowd, who just completely amused me with their uninhibited adulation and humorous heckling of audience participants.  It was that side of the Filipino seldom seen and rarely experienced, in all our preoccupation and seriousness in living the daily grind.  The stars did sizzle, and the crowd responded with equal fervor, raising the emotional temperature of the evening and turning it into a welcome respite from the freezing temperature of Alberta. (Concert photos courtesy of Earl Golveo.)

* This article was written for the December issue of Pinoy Times.

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