The Kabataang Silay Rondalla Ensemble (KSE) of the Philippines and the Singapore Marsiling Chinese Orchestra (MCO) successfully conducted their joint performance, “Love Across the Ocean II”, at the Star Theatre, Singapore, on Friday, 22 May 2015.
The joint performance is the brainchild of Singapore Member of Parliament (MP) Hawazi Daipi, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Manpower, and MCO founder. He proposed the idea to then PHL Ambassador to Singapore Minda Calaguian-Cruz during the turnover ceremony of relief goods for victims of typhoon Haiyan at the Marsiling Community Centre in November 2013 as follow up to “Love Across the Ocean I”, with an Ang Klung group from Indonesia.
The current Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Antonio A. Morales picked up where his predecessor has left and threw his full support to have the project realized.
The joint performance is very significant as it coincided with Singapore’s celebration of its golden anniversary this year. It was well-received by an audience of more than 4,000 people including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong who was the Guest of Honor.
The MCO, which was initiated by MP Daipi, was inaugurated in 2004. Consisting of 209 musicians under the leadership of its conductor Mr. Low Cher Yong, MCO has delivered seven (7) well-received concerts including the “Love Across the Ocean” series.
KSE, on the other hand, was founded in 1993 with 36 primary school students. Over the years, it has expanded its repertoire from folk and traditional music to classical, contemporary, pop and modern under the able leadership of conductor Jegger C. Anjao. Through its more than 20-year history, KSE has won several regional and national musical competitions and has represented the Philippines in a number of international music festivals.
The participation of the KSE in the joint performance was made possible primarily through the efforts of the Philippine National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) in collaboration with the Philippine Embassy in Singapore and with the support of the government of Silay City, Negros Occidental; the Lee Foundation; UP Alumni Association (Singapore); and LBC.
At the concert, MCO’s repertoire featured Singapore’s National Day Parade (NDP) Medley, a compilation of NDP songs from 1984 to 2014; La Reine de Saba (Orchestra); Liang Wen Fu Medley; and the popular Filipino song, “Dahil Sa Yo”, with vocal rendition by Ms. Nur Fateha Binte Muhamad.
KSE electrified the crowd with its rendition of Bahay Kubo; The Flight of the Bumblebee; Cuerdas II Visayan Medley – with dance interpretation by Kultura Performance Pte. Ltd. dancers led by Ms. Celia Diaz-Defato; Let It Go (Walt Disney Song); Pirates of the Caribbean (sound track); and the theme of NDP 1998, “Home”, with vocals by Philippine soprano Stefanie Quintin, who effectively mesmerized the audience with a top-quality performance.
The two groups capped the night of splendid music with a joint rendition of the Spanish Medley (La Bamba, Sway and Quizas) and Mother’s Love Medley (Anak, Ibu and Mama Hao) and encore pieces including “Mambo No. 5”.
The concert was preceded by a pre-concert performance by Kultura Performance Arts Pte. Ltd. dances and Ms. Stefanie Quintin and a reception attended by officials and representatives of the People’s Association, Marsiling Citizens Consultative Committee, the Philippine Embassy in Singapore, sponsors and the Guest of Honor Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
An exhibit of instruments to impart knowledge and information about KSE and the Philippine rondalla in general was prominently displayed at the main entrance of the Star Performance Arts Centre of the Star Theatre.
On Thursday, 20 May 2015, KSE conducted an initial pre-concert performance in front of teachers and students of the Woodlands Secondary School as part of their outreach activity to introduce rondalla music to locals in Singapore. Ms. Stefani Quintin sang “Sa Kabukiran” to the delight of the audience. Singapore organizers also hosted the group to a tour at the Universal Studios Singapore (USS) and to dinner with MP Hawazi Daipi and officials of the People’s Association and Marsiling Citizens Consultative Committee.
Ambassador Morales hosted the members of the KSE to a late-night dinner at the official residence after the concert where they also played a few musical pieces for an audience consisting of Philippine Embassy officials members and friends of the Filipino community.
In his brief address, Ambassador Morales conveyed his gratitude to KSE for making the Philippines proud with their performance. He also thanked the NCCA, Silay City government, sponsors and supporters for joining hands to help make the project possible.
KSE left Singapore on Saturday, 23 May 2015. As part of the arrangement, MCO will travel to the Philippines for a joint performance with the Philippine rondalla group sometime in March 2016.
KSE Demonstration at Woodlands Secondary School
Exhibit of Philippine Rondalla Instruments at the Star Theatre
Pre-concert Cocktail Reception and Performance at the Star Theatre
The Joint Performance “Love Across the Ocean II”
Post-concert Reception at the Official Residence