By Angelu Rucel F. Cabali
Mandaluyong City – When was the last time you’ve sat back on a holiday and just contemplated about the future?
For the Chinese, taking time to reflect upon life so far and life ahead is a must every start of a new year. It is a tradition.
And so Ateneo de Manila University and Ricardo Leone Center for Chinese Studies, in partnership with Shangri-la Plaza Mall, took it upon themselves to again provide the atmosphere through Chinese New Year festivities – one of which is ‘An Afternoon of Beautiful Chinese Melodies: A Chinese Musical Concert’.
The event on a Saturday afternoon, January 28, brought together a crowd of Chinese and Chinese-Filipinos alike, from little children to senior citizens at the mall’s Grand Atrium where, surrounded by their family, friends, and close acquaintances, have expressed their hopes and worries about the future – about their health, happiness, love, and success.
Video stills from Shangri-la Plaza’s ‘Chinese Musical Concert Highlights’
Attentive they have become right as the festival was opened by the promising teens of Philippine Cultural College Glee Club – under conductor Philip Sun and accompanied by pianist Sonnie Abella – up to the wrap-up of Sirein – the powerful trio of sopranos Sherry Ann Koa, Evangeline Lao, and Gimbey dela Cruz – with heartrending Chinese love songs.
Generations were reached out to and bridged by the folk songs sung by solo performers Jhonvid Bangayan, Angel Ko, and Ellen Pao.
Albert Cedric Tan (left) and Sirein (right)
The Hope Chorale, a group of elementary and high school students of Hope Christian School under conductor Sonnie Abella and accompanied by pianist Lety Sarte, sung about childhood memories and the Christian faith.
Meanwhile, pianist Albert Cedric Tan’s renditions of ‘Rondo alla Turka (Turkish March)’ and ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ wowed the audience as he connected with them through music despite his inability to see.
Philippine Cultural College Glee Club (top) and Hope Chorale (bottom)
There really is nothing like good music to clear your mind and refresh your perspective. Hence, smiles and turned-hopeful conversations were shared in tune to the beautiful music.
Maybe we could learn a thing or two from the Chinese. While we Filipinos are also sticklers to tradition, and could become as excited for the festivities as a little boy had been for the annual dragon dance, let us also not forget to sit down and plan, reminisce and re-evaluate. Having concrete short- and long-term goals would make for a more organized and less burdensome year.
And while you’re at it, immerse yourself in the beauty our own rich culture has to offer. Your own roots speak a language close to your heart, awakening forgotten passions and rekindling lost flames of youth.