Cebu City’s musicians pooled their talent and mounted a concert for the benefit of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” victims in northern Cebu.
Organized by Reynaldo Abellana, the music director of Cebu Philharmonic Orchestra, the symphonic concert was held at the grand ballroom of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.
Guest conductor was Alfredo Villanueva, with pianist Ingrid Sala Santamaria as featured soloist. Turning Point School of Ballet rendered a number. They all performed for free, and admission to the concert was also free.
Constituting the orchestra were the scholars of the 10-year development plan initiated by the Salvador and Pilar Sala Foundation years ago, which saw the birth of the orchestra in Cebu City.
Abellana said more than a hundred volunteers had gone through auditions, but only some 70 musicians were taken by the orchestra.
The conductor, Alfredo Villanueva, came all the way from Canada, to wield the baton for free. The Marco Polo Plaza Cebu also offered the cozy ballroom for free. Mary Rose Maghuyop “emceed” the program via a voice-over.
In short, the endeavor was a labor of love all done for a humanitarian cause.
The concert was a rousing year-ender. Jess Alcordo, a staunch supporter of the arts, said music was a catalyst for rallying support for victims of disasters.
Soprano Maria Kim Martinez movingly rendered with her unaffected lyric voice the doxology “Nearer My God to Thee.”
The program was intelligently conceived. The opener, Lucio D. San Pedro’s “Lahing Kayumanggi,” could not have been more relevant as it depicts the Filipino’s resilience over adversity.
Last year was the birth centennial of San Pedro, and the inclusion of the piece could not have been more significant. Villanueva’s reading underscored the salient parts of the four-part symphonic poem.
Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, Op. 67 roused the audience further. The orchestra surged through all the four movements with a broad sweep.
The audience broke protocol and applauded at the end of the triumphant first movement. The orchestra mightily essayed the other three movements.
The final number, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto. No. 1 in B-Flat Minor, Op. 23, brought down the house.
Santamaria surged through the entire concerto with undiminished stamina and a commanding presence.
She fired the octaves of the first movement with a Lisztian virtuoso stance, and did the cadenza with much warmth. Her tones were full, and her sense of rhythm was impeccable.
She forged a powerful tandem with the orchestra, and together they essayed the work with a well-nuanced aplomb, all to the delight of the audience.
Requested to give a brief remarks, Santamaria thanked all the donors, and expressed hope the symphonic tradition the Salvador and Pilar Sala Foundation had started many years ago would be sustained.
Santamaria’s performance capped her golden anniversary as a concert pianist.