Celebrating life and music

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Becky Garcia

Becky Garcia

Manila Pianos Showroom, the first piano superstore in the Philippines, became the venue for a celebration of life and music on July 26.

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Life because it hosted three late birthday parties of congresswoman and former first Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos, former Ilocos Governor Chavit Singson and Manila Pianos owner Willem Van Suidjam.

Music because it was Willem’s idea to present special guests, Spanish violinist David Delgado and German violinist Stefan Schmidt in a mini concert as the highlight of the event.

Birthday celebrants Manila Pianos owner Willem Van Suidjam, former first Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos, and former Ilocos Governor Chavit Singson

Birthday celebrants Manila Pianos owner Willem Van Suidjam, former first Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos, and former Ilocos Governor Chavit Singson

The duo were here to conduct workshops to members of Orchestra of the Filipino Youth built by Ang Misyon Inc. organized by multi awarded pianist Jovianney Emmanuel Cruz who was responsible for bringing them here. This orchestra is composed of 50 young musicians from underprivileged families.

Upon arrival, Madame Imelda was presented by a bouquet of roses by Willem’s fiancée Gina Ronquillo, who was responsible for arranging the whole event especially the delicious buffet spread of Filipino specialties.

The program, emceed by Dr. George Sarakinis, opened with a beautiful doxology in praise of God from whom all blessings flow. It was played by Willem on a church organ followed by the Duo mini concert and piano renditions by Jovianney himself who was such a great pianist.

Arthur and Kathryn Manuntag

Arthur and Kathryn Manuntag

The dinner entertainment was so much fun with great performers who took turns in singing led by balladeer Tony Bennett of the Philippines Arthur Manuntag, movie actor and director Ricky Davao, Caruso owner Emilio Mina who sang Italian songs, Arthur’s lovely wife Kathryn, and son Sean Manuntag, Muebles Italiano owner Noel Gonzales, Jazz artist Mina Remollo and George Sarakinis who sang Filipino songs.

Popular violinist Merjohn Lagaya—who was Madame Imelda’s scholar—played several favorite pieces. Two young talented pianists J. Isaac Chua, a piano teacher who teaches in a University in Manila and still studies piano in Vancouver and Vincent Saavedra, a 16-year-old winner in a piano competition also played two pieces to the delight of the guests.

 Willem Van Suijdam, Mina Remollo, Cory Quirino, Gina Ronguillo and Arnie Tan

Willem Van Suijdam, Mina Remollo, Cory Quirino, Gina Ronguillo and Arnie Tan

But the surprise of the evening was Madame Imelda singing her favorite songs. She was later joined by former Gov. Chavit in a duet of an Ilocano song. Their performances well applauded of course by the guests present who were also dancing to some of the songs.

All in all, it was truly a memorable and fun celebration, which made me say. I cannot imagine living life without music.

Meanwhile three days earlier another double celebration of life was the joint birthdays of Dancesport council treasurer Gloria Alcala and Dancesport Council Sports Director Emma Nieto at the Caruso Ristorante Italiano.

Noel Gonzales, Dr. George Sarakinis, Ricky Davao, Sonny Tanchanco, John Gaddi,  Becky Garcia and Merjohn Layaga

Noel Gonzales, Dr. George Sarakinis, Ricky Davao, Sonny Tanchanco, John Gaddi, Becky Garcia and Merjohn Layaga

Guests who enjoyed the Italian cuisine were almost the same ones who were at the Manila Piano event including the same entertainers—Arthur, Kathy and Sean Manuntag and Ricky Davao who did a beautiful but fun duet with Arthur. Guests were in stitches laughing with Arthur and Ricky’s comedy antics.

To all our birthday celebrators may you have more years to come because music is your life!

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