• 12-year old Filipino to lead Vienna Boys Choir in PH concert

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    DANNY VIBAS

    DANNY VIBAS

    If you have been dreaming of going to Austria to watch the world-famous Vienna Boys Choir (VBC) perform, you can well keep the plane fare for another trip and save enough for a good seat for VBC’s concert in the Philippines.

    Set on November 11, Vienna Boys Choir Live in Manila 2016 will be at Philippine International Convention Center’s Plenary Hall. The Alumni Association of Xavier School—which is in its year-long 50th anniversary celebration—and the Austrian Embassy made the concert possible.

    The last time VBC was in Manila was in 2004 when not one Filipino was in the group. This year, though, we have our first flag bearer in the group, the 12-year old Lance Castro So.
    Lance met with members of the local press at noontime on and was accompanied by his mother who works with the Disneyland in Shanghai, China. Lance’s dad—a Xavier School alumnus also works in Shanghai but for another multi-national company.

    It was also in Shanghai that the Choir’s artistic director, Gerald Wirth, invited the young talent to join the global group. He need not audition for it at all.

    Lance So in his Vienna Boys Choir uniform

    Lance So in his Vienna Boys Choir uniform

    “Lance was attending a summer camp in which Mr. Wirth was involved and where some singing was also involved. Lance was only 10 years old then and when Mr. Wirth asked him if he would like to join the Vienna Boys Choir, he immediately answered ‘yes!’ without consulting me and his dad,” recalled mom Racquel.

    Lance’s parents were at first hesitant to allow him to join the choir, thinking that the family had to move with him to Vienna. When they found out all choir members have to stay in a boarding school and Lance was willing to move to Vienna all by his lonesome, they relented. The choir’s members are primarily from Austria.

    “In my two years with the choir, I have been to 11 countries. I speak German now, I was given language lessons along with the others who are not from Austria, though I can’t say I have mastered the language,” Lance very confidently intoned at the press huddle.

    “I may be the first Filipino to be accepted in the choir but I am not the first Asian. There had been other Asians before me. One of my best friends in the choir now is a Japanese,” the young man shared.

    The country’s first-of-its-kind movie event—ToFarm Film Festival—is all set to open on July 13, with the screening of the iconic film on farmers and their families—Biyaya ng Lupa—at SM Megamall’s Cinema 7.

    Directed by Manuel Silos and released in 1959, the film stars Rosa Rosal, Tony Santos Sr., Leroy Salvador, Mila Ocampo, Marita Zobel, Joseph de Cordova, Carlos Padilla Jr., and then-child actor Danilo Jurado.

    Festival director Maryo J. de los Reyes has invited Rosa Rosal and Marita Zobel to the gala night, as well as all other living cast members. “Otherwise, I have sent words to the closest kins of the late stars to grace the gala opening,” De los Reyes said at the recent grand press conference for the festival at Salu restaurant in QC.

    The festival’s prime mover, Dr. Milagros O. How, Universal Harvester, Inc.’s executive vice president also reiterated, during the festival’s press conference, her deep concern in making urban Filipinos aware of the “trials and triumphs” of farmers and their families through the festival’s six entries.

    The festival goes on till July 19, with screenings at SM Megamall and SM North Edsa. Provincial screenings will be held next month, all the way to October.

    Happily, the entries vary not only in genres but also in locations. For instance, Pitong Kabang Palay is set in Isabela, Paglipay in Zambales, and Kakampi in Camiguin.

    So with his choir mates at their 2015 Japan tour

    So with his choir mates at their 2015 Japan tour

    And even as the entries may all be classified as “independent films,” De los Reyes stressed that there are about a dozen mainstream stars in the casts, such as Cherie Pie Picache, Bembol Roco, Boots Anson Roa, Gio Alvarez, James Blanco, Rez Cortez, Jackie Rice, Michael de Mesa, Gloria Sevilla, Felix Roco, and Tessie Tomas.

    If you want to break away from the movies, go and watch Mig Ayesa and Tanya Manalang in Curtains Up! at the Newport Performing Arts Theater at Resorts World on July 15, at 8pm.

    “It’s the star of Rock of Ages meets the star of Rak of Aegis,” quipped the concert’s director, Freddie Santos, at the press event for the show, referring to the musicals that Mig and Tanya topbilled.

    Curtains Up will have as accompanists the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of Rodel Colmenar.

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