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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Autism and SPED Takes Center Stage with "Samantha" and "Soundtracks and Symphonies" on January 28



The Center for Possibilities Foundation (CFP) will be staging a back-to-back event at the RCBC Plaza in Makati on January 28 with an exhibit by Samantha Kaspar at 5:30 pm and  the Manila Symphony Orchestra at 7:00 pm.  The event is open to the public.

“Samantha” Art Auction

“Samantha” will consist of around 40 artworks, some on fabric to be used as fashion accessories and others on canvas for wall hangings.

“Samantha uses a wide variety of media for her work and we wanted to show the gamut of her abilities. She works primarily on piña silk using silk paints. She also uses acrylic paint on canvas sometimes,” explains Samantha’s mother, Mitzi.

“She has a consistent style with a lot of edges and lines, her artworks can be very linear. She also has this certain way of giving shapes to her images which aren’t necessarily realistic but are more cartoonish,” describes Samantha’s father, Martin.

While half-Swiss, Samantha always tries to tap into her Filipino roots, coming up with Filipino-themed artworks. She will be promoting some of that local culture when she heads to the Philippine Center in New York for the Fashion Arts Autism Benefit (FAAB) on April 7.

FAAB is meant to showcase the artistic talents of children with special needs. Samantha, diagnosed with Autism when she was one and a half years old, is one of eight artists chosen to present their paintings on piña silk to be translated into clothing by featured designers for the fashion show, Patis Tesoro and Anthony Legarda. Master weaver India Legaspi is credited for teaching the artists the technique of piña silk painting.

Samantha hopes to fund her trip with the proceeds of her auction.

“Soundtracks and Symphonies” Concert

The Manila Symphony Orchestra’s “Soundtracks and Symphonies” will be conducted by Prof. Arturo Molina and annotated by Jeffrey Solares. Included in their repertoire is a John Williams tribute as well as pieces from greats such as Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach.

The concert is for the benefit of Special Education (SPED) Centers that have been the focus of the Center for Possibilities’ recent efforts. To act as a venue for learning of indigent persons with special needs, each SPED Center is operated by a teacher trained in the SPED division of Reach International School.

The Sagada SPED Center has been up and running and will be enhanced with a series of livelihood and vocational programs that will be teaching skills for income-generating activities. “Caring for special kids is very taxing because it’s usually just a one-income household so we also need to help the parents improve their finances,” explains CFP founder, Dolores Cheng.

In Norzagaray, what they have right now is just the building itself. A fence, a water tank, and a playground are still needed. “We are also in the process of doing our due diligence by determining the number of special children in all the barangays relevant to Norzagaray. Next will be an orientation for all the parents within the community. We are subsequently planning for the provision of testing, diagnosis, and analysis for the children with special needs,” Cheng adds.

Enrolment in the SPED Centers is free so it helps alleviate the family’s cost of taking care of special children. If you would like to extend assistance, you may reach CFP at http://centerforpossibilities.asia/ or (02) 723-1242 / (0918) 888-1759.

“Samantha” and “Soundtracks and Symphonies” will be on January 28, 2016, 5:30pm at the Carlos P. Auditorium of the RCBC Plaza, Makati.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Silly, Sassy Modern Fairy Tale "Once Upon a Mattress" Opens January 20 to 22



Due to an unhappy curse, King Sextimus is unable to speak. Meanwhile, his terror-of-a-wife, Queen Aggravain, has taken over control of the kingdom. Most importantly, in an attempt to keep Prince Dauntless single, she has decreed that only the princess that can pass her test may marry her son. Further, no one else in the kingdom may marry until Prince Dauntless does. Lady Larken and Sir Harry are extremely disturbed by this fact since Lady Larken is now pregnant with Sir Harry's baby. Luckily, Sir Harry is able to find an amazing princess, Winnifred the Woebegone. She instantly catches the attention of Prince Dauntless, and in the end, is able to pass the Queen's supposedly impassable sensitivity test. When the Queen still tries to prevent the Prince Dauntless from marrying, he tells her to 'shut up' which ends up breaking the curse on the king. Now able to speak, King Sextimus regains his rightful position as leader of the kingdom, and all is well.

Ephesus Teatron Group, Inc.  is all set to transport all of us to a magical world of musical theater as it proudly kicks off its first production for 2017 with “ONCE UPON A MATTRESS” at the Tanghalang Yaman Lahi Theater, Emilio Aguinaldo College located at 1221 Gen. Luna St. Ermita, Manila.
The schedule of performances are as follows: Jan. 20 – 22 (Fri. – Sun.) at 3:30 pm and 7:30 pm.

“Once Upon a Mattress” is from the Book by Jay Thompson, Marshall Barer and Dean Fuller. Music by Mary Rodgers. Lyrics by Marshall Barer. (Based on the story The Princess and the Pea by Hans Christian Andersen.)

The original 1959 Broadway production featured the debut of stage and TV personality Carol Burnett, and received two Tony Award nominations for Best Musical and Best Leading Actress. A 1960 London production was produced together with an original cast album recording. In 1996, Sarah Jessica Parker stepped into the leading role in a Broadway revival production together with Jane Krakowski which was nominated for the 1997 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. An Off-Broadway production had a limited run last January 2016. Adaptations for television were aired in the US in 1964, 1972, and lastly in 2005.

For the Manila production, “Once Upon a Mattress” will be directed by Steven Conde who recently megged critically-acclaimed plays “Suicidal, Incorporated” and “Dog Sees God” for Twin Bill Theater. 

“Once Upon a Mattress” is a silly, sassy, and a funny modern fairy tale musical with many amusing moments bursting at the seams featuring an assemblage of first-rate pros loaded with showbiz pizzazz and comic artistry from the Philippine theater industry.

Carla Guevara-Laforteza and Cara Barredo shall alternately play the role of Princess Winnifred the Woebegone. She is a feisty, outspoken, independent, strong, optimistic, and free-thinking princess from the swamp lands. She isn’t too good with manners. She wants to get married, but must go through the queen's unfair test as well. The Prince, naturally, falls madly in love with her.
Niño Alejandro will play the role of Prince Dauntless. A nice, not too smart, everyday type of young Prince who desperately wants to get married, but is prevented by his mother's strict tests that she gives to all potential candidates.   

Hans Eckstein and Chino Veguillas shall alternately play the role of Sir Harry. He is the Queen’s Champion-in-Arms - the Lancelot of Knights - the macho, slightly egotistical, brave, romantic knight who decides to leave the kingdom to search for a princess, and finds Princess Winnifred in the swamp.  Easily jealous, but loves Lady Larken with all his heart. Harry cannot marry Lady Larken until Prince Dauntless has found a suitable bride.

Milay Guinid will essay the role of Queen Aggravain. The loud, talkative woman who really rules the country.  She is an overprotective, stubborn, sly Mom who is trying to keep her son, Prince Dauntless, from getting married.

Raymund Concepcion will play the role of King Sextimus. A kind, expressive, playful, and comedic character who is silent due to a curse placed upon him by a witch before the birth of Dauntless. He likes to chase girls through the corridors of the castle.  Needs good improv skills.

Arion Sanchez and Chino Veguillas will alternately play the role of Minstrel. The handsome narrator of the story, as well as in the musical story line. He becomes smitten with Lady Larken and tries to persuade her to flee to Normandy with him. He and the Jester join forces to stop the Queen's plans.
Steven Hotchkiss plays the role of the Jester. An energetic and peppy man who is the King's right-hand man and assists him with every endeavor. The Jester also plots with the Minstrel to spoil the Queen's plans.

Onyl Torres and Alex Dagalea shall alternately play the role of the Wizard. The egotistical, ex-performer who directly serves the Queen.  He is the Queen’s Henchman and thinks of all the Princess’ tests. He prides himself in his position and basically obeys all of the Queen’s orders.
Yanah Laurel and Jill Ita-as alternately essays the role of Lady Larken. She is the Queen’s Lady-in-Waiting but is put in charge of Princess Winnifred. She is madly in love with Sir Harry and desperately wants to marry him because she is pregnant with his baby. She tries to flee the Kingdom after having an argument with Sir Harry, but is convinced by Winnifred to reunite with him. 
Sweet Samaniego- Buchanan plays the role of Princess No. 12. She is the first Princess that the audience sees who is performing the rounds of tests. Very eager, smart, thinks well on her feet – of course the Prince wants to marry her.  

The Ladies-in-Waiting and Knights and are all waiting for the Prince to get married so that they can get married to each other.  These are character roles and are not just part of the chorus.
The Queen’s Ladies-in-waiting will be played by Sweet Samaniego- Buchanan, Ayam Eckstein, Tina Macaraeg, Jill Ita-as, Mica Fajardo, Meggy Katigbak, Nicole Herrera, and Ash Factor.  
The knights will be played by Vincent Kevin Pajara, Josh Cabiladas, Gry Gimena, Edrei Tan, Arion Sanchez, and Alex Dagalea.

The artistic team of “ONCE UPON A MATTRESS” are as follows: Steven Conde (Director); Sweet Samaniego – Buchanan (Artistic Director), Jay Pangilinan (Musical Arranger); Joseph Mattheu (Light Designer); Stephen Viñas (Choreographer); and Kayla Teodoro (Costume/Set Designer).
The production team is composed of the following: Sweet Samaniego – Buchanan, Danielle B. Eckstein, Vincent Kevin Pajara (Production Managers); Mary Joyce Tejero (Stage Manager); Toots Tolentino (Publicist); Roman Arambala (Assistant Stage Manager).

For tickets and inquiries, call Ticketworld at 8919999; tel. nos. 632-1330 and 646-9330 or visit http://ephesusteatron.com; email: sweetbutler@gmail.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ephesusteatrongroupinc.


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Odin Rathnam in Olivier Ochanine's final PPO Season Concert as Music Director April 22


Press Update:
OUTGOING Music Director Olivier Ochanine features a thrilling line-up of orchestral music with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra in its concert season ending on April 22, 2016.  The concert features American violinist Odin Rathnam as guest soloist on the Korngold Violin Concerto at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater) at 8:00 pm.

The evening’s concert program also features Massenet’s Scènes de Féerie, Enesco’s Romanian Rhapsody No.1 and Ginastera’s Estancia Ballet Suite.  The Ginastera suite will be a preview of the Carnegie Hall performance by the Philippine Philharmonic which Ochanine has put together for June 18.

Ochanine has been Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Philippine Philharmonic since April 2010, when he took the helm as the youngest Music Director at the age of 30. Under his leadership, the orchestra has repeatedly brought to Manila audiences new listening experiences with countless Philippine premieres. With the upcoming tour, Ochanine hopes that the PPO can bring national pride to the multitudes of Filipinos on both US coasts who will get to witness the historic first performance by a Filipino orchestra in the country.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Panglao Take Two with Scent of Green Papaya

Doljo beach

Bolod
My first visit, three years ago, was a sneak peek of this beautiful island as I spent most of my time in my aunt’s gorgeous home, The Glass House, which she herself has designed.  She took me around the city and around some resorts.  We had ice cream, pizza, and a movie date to let me get a feel of how life is in Panglao. 

I spent an afternoon at Alona beach taking a stroll, sitting by the beach,  enjoying the sunset with a cocktail drink in one of the beach bars.   My stay was a dream as I woke up to a gorgeous sunrise view and closed my day taking in an inspiring sunset view of Panglao every day of my stay at the Glass House.  

From that experience, I learned how to get around in Panglao which is so much simpler than traveling to Boracay.  Going to Boracay, involves a plane ride, a van ride, and a boat to get to my destination.  In Panglao, I just had to take a trike from the airport to my accommodations.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Cultural Studies Pioneer Florentino H. Hornedo dies


Press Update:
ESTEEMED scholar, professor, cultural studies pioneer and expert in Ivatan culture Florentino H. Hornedo passed away on December 9, 2015 in his home province of Batanes. He was 77.

A CCP Gawad Para sa Sining awardee for Cultural Research in 2012, Hornedo was honored for his contributions to the development of the discipline of cultural studies in the Philippines. He was lauded for choosing “to take a prodigious path to inquire and theorize about the breadth, depth, and complexities of the Filipino mind and identity.”

In an article Hornedo wrote for Kultura Magazine, vol. 2 no.1, 1989, he expounded on the term “Filipinicity” and theorized that Philippine folk and popular literature was the result of forces such as significant and important events in Philippine history.
“Our Filipinicity is the late Frank Lynch’s dictum: Today’s native was yesterday’s visitors, Hornedo said. To elaborate, he pointed to American Willys jeep and the Japanese Honda motorcycle as yesterday’s visitors that have become natives. These motor vehicles, Hornedo said, were appropriated by Filipinos, in their quest for mobility and transportation.  The process of appropriation have caused these modes of transport to become Filipino, naturalized by possession and/or association.

Hornedo studied Philippine ethnic traditions, precolonial and colonial history and contemporary society.

An Ivatan and native of Sabtang, Batanes, he devoted much of his scholarly research to the Ivatans as well as the Bago-o people and Kankanay culture.

He was a prolific writer, researcher and author of journal articles, monographs and books such as  Laji:  An Ivatan Folk Lyric Tradition (1979), Pagmamahal and Pagmumura Essays (1997), Culture and Community in the Philippine Fiesta and Other Celebrations (2000), Taming the Wind:  Ethno-Cultural History on the Ivatan of the Batanes Isles (2000),The Glitter of Gold in Batanes Cultural Heritage (2000), The Favor of the Gods:  Essays in Filipino Religious Thought and Behavior (2001), Ideas and Ideals:  Essays in Filipino Cognitive History (2001), Pagpapakatao and Other Essays in Contemporary Philosophy and Literature of Ideas (2001) and Epics and Ballads of Lam-ang’s Land and People(Bago-o Traditional Literature of the Bakun and Amburayan River Valleys) (2006).

He was a full professor of the Ateneo de Manila University, professorial lecturer at the Graduate School of the University of Santo Tomas and a visiting professor in 20 university in Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, China and the USA.

He was commissioner of the UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines, commissioner for Ivatan language at the Commission on Filipino Language and consultant to the Southeast Asian Arts and Culture project of the ASEAN and UNESCO Center for Asian Culture in Tokyo, Japan.  He served as chair of the UNESCO International Committee that drafted the “Statement on International Intangible Heritage” at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. in 1999.

Hornedo was born on October 16, 1938. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

PPO Music Director Ochanine Wins International Conducting Competition


Press Announcement:
MUSIC Director and Principal Conductor of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra Maestro Olivier Ochanine won the first prize in the recently concluded first edition of the Antal Dorati International Conducting Competition held in Budapest, Hungary on November 28, 2015.

Maestro Ochanine shared the first prize with Azerbaijan conductor Orkahn Hashimov.  The second prize was won by Joost Smeets from the Netherlands.  

The three conductors went through three gruelling competition rounds before they reached the final round. These were the eliminations on November 23 which saw the participation of 120 conductors from different parts of the world; the 2nd round on November 25 wherein the competitors were narrowed down to 30; and the semi-finals  on November 26 wherein the competitors were  narrowed down to 10. The conductors were down to three on the final round.

During the finals, Maestro Ochanine, while suffering from the pain of post-surgery for a fractured fifth metacarpal on his right hand, conducted two pieces: the first movement of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 “Pathetique”, and the competition piece “Cyclos”, a new work by Italian composer Andrea Portera. His performance greatly impressed the jury led by renowned Hungarian pianist and conductor Tamás Vásáry.

As part of his prize, Maestro Ochanine will have the opportunity to conduct the Budapest Symphony Orchestra MAV, the “I virtuosi italiani” Orchestra in Verona, Italy, and the “F. Chopin” Philharmonic Orchestra in Danzic, Poland on its 2016/2017 season.  He will also have the chance to participate in the 2016/2017 season of theEszterházy Vigasságok (Festival) in the Hungarian Esterházy Castle. A contract proposal with Contempoars International Artists Agency is also in the offing.

Olivier Ochanine began his music studies in France. He  went on to take studies in the United States, then expanding to orchestral conducting and taking graduate studies while attending master classes with some of the best mentors in the US. He obtained his master’s degree in Conducting from the University of Southern California (USC) and began his doctoral studies in Orchestral Conducting at the Cincinatti College-Conservatory of Music under Mark Gibson. He is on his sixth and last season as Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra. 

The Competition is named after Antal Dorati, the late world renowned Hungarian conductor and composer who died in 1988.  

Monday, October 19, 2015

Rony Fortich is The Third Triple Threat at CCP



Press Update:
Multi-awarded composer Rony Fortich is the third and final featured artist in Triple Threats: The Composers on October 22, 2015 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater) at 8:00pm.

Billed as Best Seat In The House 2, Rony Fortich brings his musical perspective to the CCP Little Theater for another celebration of music and friendship. It is an evening of stories and songs, all told from the piano bench - the best seat in the house.

Repertoire for the concert consists of excerpts from the Trumpets musicals "Mr. Noah's Big Boat" and "Bluebird of Happiness", Upstart Productions "Breakups and Breakdowns" as well as a number of songs Fortich has written for different artists and productions.

Joining Fortich onstage are Ring Antonio, Cathy Azanza-Dy, Caisa Borromeo, Mayen Cadd, Steve Cadd, The CompanY, Red Concepcion, Bituin Escalante, Topper Fabregas, Sheila Francisco, Audie Gemora, Carla Guevara-Laforteza, Lana Jalosjos-de Leon, Cole Laparan, Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, Franco Laurel, Fred Lo, OJ Mariano, Pinky Marquez, Lorenz Martinez, Simone Martinez, Gab Medina, Giannina Ocampo, Timmy Pavino, Sweet Plantado-Tiongson, Kyla Rivera, Kakki Teodoro, Gabo Tiongson, Shiela Valderrama-Martinez, Mikki Villa, Morissette, Cris Villonco, and The Philippine Madrigal Singers.

Triple Threats: The Composers is presented by the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Individual concert tickets are Php1200, Php1000 and Php800.

For details, contact the CCP Box Office at 832-3704.

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