A Classic Gift” was the Christmas concert presented by the Cebu City Marriott Hotel the evening of Dec. 18 at the Sampaguita Ballroom. On hand to welcome the enthusiastic crowd were the hotel’s director for sales and marketing Cleofe Albiso, communications manager Frances Alfafara and PR officer Nico Velasquez, who did the voice-over to explain the evening’s repertoire.
The spotlight was on Cebu’s Classic Youth Orchestra (CYO), the absorbing concern of professor Reynaldo Abellana and his wife Geraldine. Together they have had the Classical Orchestra Music Studio since 2011.
In her welcome address, Albiso said that Christmas is the most fantastic season of the year, and that the concert was the Marriott’s gift to the music-loving community.
The first part of the concert was conducted by guest artist Felicito Sacdalan. It opened with the first movement—allegro con brio—from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. This was followed by Ennio Morricone’s “Gabriel’s Oboe,” theme from the movie “The Mission,” with James Vincent Natera as soloist.
Bach’s “Concerto for Two Violins” had Bruce Albert Lim and Al Gabrielle Valendez as soloists. Paul Gilbert Ramos was superb as soloist in “Meditation” from the Massenet opera “Thais.” “Light of a Million Mornings” closed the first part, sung by sorprano Iohannie Marie Beltran.
The spotlight was next on the CYO Junior group as they played the first movement from Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto,” and the traditional Christmas carol “The First Noel.”
In the second part of the concert, Abellana conducted the CYO, beefed up by the junior group, in the Mendelssohn Piano Concerto No. 1 with Ingrid Sala Santamaria as soloist. It was a magnificently brilliant performance.
The concert concluded with Rey conducting varied selections like Leroy Andreson’s “Waltzing Cat,” Ikeda’s “Doreamon” with its marching lilt, the atonal “Harry Potter” theme (arranged by Brubaker), and another Lercy Andreson show-stopper, “A Christmas Festival.”
For everyone to clap, and sing along if they chose, was the Cebuano Christmas carol “Kasadya Ning Taknaa.”
Ingrid was asked to say the closing remarks, during which she thanked the Marriott Hotel for presenting the concert. “I love to play with young people,” she said. “It’s so inspiring and awesome.”
Kudos to them all:
Violins 1 – concertmaster Paul Gilbert Ramos, Bruce Albert Lim, Al Gabrielle Valendez, Lord Lyrzand Padua, Jann Russ Esmeralda, Brian Choi and Jerome Nakita.
Violins 2 – Nicole Yap, Queen Monteyre, Mariz Trinidad, John Llenes, Haydn Marie Beltran, Nicole Villahermosa and Norwena Belocura.
Viola – Arthur Yap, Carlitos Adarna, Grant Lim, Joshua Bandala, Hans Grado, Samantha Yap, Iohanni Beltran and Kazuo Uehara.
Cello – Jaque Mabalcon, Doxa Banday, Mary Pauline Ramos, Kurk Daugdaug, Karol Mabalcon and Stephanie Cabasan.
Double Bass – France Mabalcon, Deyn Padua and Jerome Rezaba.
Bassoon – Arthur Yap and Christopher Tero.
Flute – James Vincent Natera, Yabi Valendez, King Montayre, Jan Rose Esmeralda and Geraldine Abellana.
Clarinet – Carylle Mindalano; trumpet – Ritzie Amaya and Warren Perez; trombone – Jann Rhoe Esmeralda and Bjorn Gaviola; French horn – Jesus Sable; piano – John Manatad.
Percussion – Marietta Bugtai, Louie Bugtai, Franchesco Magallanes and Simon Cereño.
In the CYO Junior Ensemble are Violins 1 – concertmaster Cecile Abellana, Nestor Valendez, Jersah Requintina, Sean Hong and Youngseo Park.
Violins 2 – Sophia Colimbo, Seung Hun Baik, Keifer Ababon, Paula Ramos, Yjhurri Requiro and Seungho Yeon.
Cello – Karol Mabalcon and Samuel Colimbo; double bass – France Mabalcon; and flute – Jeshaiah Felisida.
Given the success of this concert, Cleofe, Frances and Nico plan to have more of the same. For one thing, the Marriott in Cebu in celebrating its 20th year in 2017.
As to the CYO, they will have a Manila concert tour with Ingrid as guest pianist first week of March. In August 2017 they will have an Iloilo concert tour with Bimbo Muyuela as guest pianist. Planned for February 2018 is a Cagayan de Oro concert tour.
Three major concerts have been scheduled for the CYO in 2017. On May 27, it will be Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 with guest pianist Rudolf Golez.
On Sept. 23 it will be “Carnival of Venice” by Briccialdi with guest flutist Francisco Candelaria; and by Dec. 16, a Christmas Cantata with a choir of 100 voices.