The Cebu City Marriott Hotel hosted an exclusive preview of Ingrid Sala Santamaria’s new book titled “Romantic Piano Concerto Journey Tours January 2001-August 2015.” It was held at the hotel’s Luxury Suite, filled with red roses for the occasion.
Marketing communications director Frances Alfafara and public relations officer Nico Velasquez were on hand to welcome Cebu’s august lifestyle writers Flor Ynclino, Chinggay Utzurrum, Cookie Newman and Honey Loop. They were later joined by Lisa Nemenzo Torres, Ingrid’s dear friend.
The occasion was a festive one during which Ingrid, relaxed and at her wittiest, explained the book. It all started in Cebu in January 2001 when she and professor Reynaldo Reyes embarked on their first Romantic Piano Concerto Journey Tour.
Their format was a two-piano version of concerts written during the Romantic Period, 1800-1900. Ingrid took the soloist’s part while Reynaldo performed the orchestral accompaniment.
The concerts were conceived as outreach performances, hence their educational component. Reyes gave a preconcert talk on the background of the program. At the end of the concert both artists interacted with the audience during an open forum.
The concerts, numbering about 400 in 24 tours, were held in as many venues around the Philippines that could be reasonably accessed.
Main consideration was the availability of two pianos. In some cases they brought the pianos. They also performed in key cities in Asia and the US.
These concerts were well-documented by press announcements, post-concert coverage and a wealth of photos, as well as videos of the performances. These were not just of the concerts but other activities as well, like trundling those pianos on trucks all over Luzon, with tuners and technicians in their wake.
The book was conceived by Ingrid as a comprehensive volume comprising 125 articles and insightful editorial perspectives. They make up the bulk of the book’s content which has 240 pages and 800 color photos including a two-page spread of the magnificent ternos she wore at the concerts, with Reynaldo donning matching barong.
Ingrid herself wrote the foreword and the epilogue plus several articles. They reflect her eye for detail, and ease with words. Someday she should write an entire book.
The cover photo of Ingrid and Reynaldo was taken at the Banaue rice terraces on Jan. 7, 2003. “We were on tour No. 5, and in between the matinee and the gala,” Ingrid recalled.
“For us, the photo became iconic,” she added,” emblematic of our desire to bring classical music to the remotest places in our country.”
Gil Paterno of J. Romero Advertising and Foto Resources thought so, too. The myriad greens captured inspired Gil to use “mezzo tint” to produce 24 shades of green as chapter dividers.
Each chapter lists the details of each tour: venue, day, date, time, repertoire and programs. Thus we are informed about the scope of the tours.
Aside from these, the book, when formally made available, will also include various videos. It has truly been a labor of love not just for Ingrid but also for a whole team whose dedication is truly remarkable.
In it are editors Amor Hernando and Rose Marie Villamor, and art consultants Noemi Alivio, Zendreck Lopez, Romy Perez, and Ingrid’s daughter Cathy Santamaria. Videographers are David Brass and Rodel Sindac.
The book carries in its inside cover three DVDs of collages from Tours 4 and 5. There is also a separate companion discography case which contains 12 DVDs, culled from videos of hundreds of tours. The contents and rationale are described in the case itself.
After the presentation, Frances and Nico led everyone to the hotel’s Garden Café on the ground level for a splendid buffet lunch, during which there was more talk about the book, and its formal release, as Ingrid said, “same time, next year.”
By then, there will be one more book, work on which has already started. It is all about the Cebu Youth Symphony Orchestra. This was the result of the music development program of the Salvador and Pilar Sala Foundation, instituted to honor Ingrid’s parents and their dedication to the cause of classical music.
Two days later Ingrid was at the Cebu Marriott once more, welcomed by general manager Patrick Carroll as guest of honor during the hotel’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the lobby lounge.
It was packed with people who clapped enthusiastically when Ingrid played a powerful Chopin composition on the hotel’s gleaming grand piano.
The program was further livened by the Celestial Voices Chorale performing Christmas carols, and Balletcenter’s presentation of the Snow Queen’s pas de deux from “The Nutcracker.”