Feels Like Home
By: Lea Salonga
Philippine Daily Inquirer, Entertainment Section p. F6
June 02, 2011
My nice, long stay in New York has officially begun. But first, let me reminisce about Manila and Hong Kong …
Remember that private corporate gig I mentioned here last week? It was to celebrate the 30th anniversary of First Pacific, established in Hong Kong by Manuel V. Pangilinan. To help celebrate the momentous occasion, some artists were invited to provide entertainment: Martin Nievera, Lani Misalucha, Sarah Geronimo, Jed Madela, Christian Bautista and myself, along with hosts Ruffa Gutierrez and Mo Twister. Our director was the always-handsome Rowell Santiago, and musical director was Louie Ocampo, with a crew of musicians and back-up singers.
We began rehearsals in earnest on a Monday afternoon at Studio V in Quezon City. Lani was in Las Vegas, and wouldn’t be flying into Hong Kong until the middle of the week. Sarah was shooting a music video or something. That girl is busier than most other human beings. So at this first rehearsal, I was in the band room with the boys. I’m not complaining, these boys are inhumanly talented. Especially Jed, I think he’s from Mars. Sweet Sarah would join us at about 4 p.m.
Our repertoire ranged from musical theater (I was tasked with singing an amended version of Sondheim’s “Putting It Together”; my brain is still untangling itself from it) to Top 40, from jazz to ’70s hits, Barbra Streisand to Michael Jackson. All in all, it was a song list of celebration, of success, and of partying big time.
Rajo Laurel would do the ladies’ gowns; Randy Ortiz, the men’s suits.
More than anything, the thing that tickled me was getting to perform with this group of singers, some of the most talented our country has ever produced. Our styles all differed, as did our age groups—we were in our 20s, 30s or 40s. However, that made for some incredible vocal combinations and amazing harmonies. My overwhelming favorite: Jed and Lani performing a tongue-twisting mash-up of “Rondo” and “Tonight.”
I miss performing in shows like this one. Sure, we were stressing out with the material we all had to learn within a limited amount of time: medleys, duets and trios. But the camaraderie, the laughter, the stories told, the teasing unleashed! And yes, to cap the evening, a few Mojitos, black Russians, and Piña Coladas. Lovely.
I sure hope to work with this group again. That could take a while, what with our individual pursuits and all, but a girl can dream, right?
Start spreading the news
I’ve just begun rehearsals for my Cafe Carlyle series, “New York in June.” Oh, what a great time we’re having! We open on June 7 and finish up on June 25. If you happen to be in New York City, please come!
Speaking of the Carlyle, the recording of my first outing, “The Journey So Far” is now on preorder at my website, www.leasalonga.com. Woo-hoo!
I’ll be spending a lot of time here. Hopefully, I’ll have more New York stories to share.
leahpazMember Since 07 Feb 2006
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