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Harmony in the Heart of Winnipeg

Musica Singers & MY Band unite for “Music in Our Hearts” concert

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Filipino classics, pop hits, and French melodies were performed by Musica Singers and MY Band in Music in Our Hearts at the Centre culturel franco-manitobain last February 10
(Photo by Rollan Temporosa Photography.)

Singing together in the spirit of City of Song Winnipeg 150, a packed house of concertgoers belted out pop hits with Musica Singers and MY Band in their pre-Valentine concert, Music in Our Hearts (La musique dans nos coeurs), at the Centre culturel franco-manitobain last February 10.

Music in Our Hearts is the second offering of Musica Singers for its maiden season. It is the first joint performance of Musica Singers and MY Band. Both performing ensembles comprise volunteer artists and staff. They are managed by Musica Singers of Manitoba Inc., a membership not-for-profit organization, which aims to showcase Philippine art, culture, and traditions in performances throughout Canada. Dante Aviso is the current executive director.

The first half of the evening was devoted to the classics such as Gaano Ko Ikaw Kamahal, We’ve Only Just Begun, and French melodies of international renown like La mer, La vie en rose, and Comme d’habitude, popularized by Frank Sinatra as My Way. Nostalgic Americana, OPM (Original Pilipino Music), chartbusters from the 70s to the 90s, and selections from the Gen Z soundtrack completed the repertoire.

Spotted in attendance were MLAs Jelynn Dela Cruz and Robert Loiselle, city councillor Vivian Santos, school board trustees Lois Brothers, Ann Evangelista and Perla Javate, and Honorary Consul Ronaldo Opina.

“My family and I enjoyed the excellent performance. The variety of songs presented is a testament to the versatility of Musica Singers. It’s also a delight to watch them and MY Band together in one show! We have been attending Musica Singers concerts for over a year now and we have marked our calendar for the next ones,” said trustee Evangelista.

Also present were radio anchor Donna Natividad-Arenas and former University of the Philippines Alumni & Associates in Manitoba chairperson Norman Garcia, several choir directors, musicians in the Filipino concert scene, young musical theatre artists, sponsors, advertisers, and community partners.

Directing the Musica Singers are Oscar Pantaleon, former member of the Philippine Madrigal Singers, and Lorenz Edward Sarrondo, former conductor of the UP Manila Chorale. The sopranos are Jesse Alcasabas, Milyn Armenio, Ymma Nuelle Concepcion, Katrina Dimatulac, Vina Dimayuga, Kate Tomo, and Storme Zapata, and the altos are Ira Alejo, Elizabeth De Leon, Jean Lopez, Ashley Medina, and Rowena Sta. Ana.

The tenors are Elmer Aquino, Ren Bonifacio, Ariel Fernando, and Lorenz Sarrondo, and the basses are Dante Aviso, Emmanuel Dimatulac, Jim Lopez, Ricardo L. Manalang, and John Zedrick Reyes. Music in Our Hearts also enlisted the collaboration of Hannah Cachero (piano), Lorenzo Camus (violin), and Jett Russel Panganiban (piano).

MY Band is under the leadership of Jim Lopez (keyboard). MY Band plays a wide range of music genres during its summer and fall shows around Winnipeg. The band members are Jesse Alcasabas (vocals), Crisanto Aquino (drums & percussion), Ren Bonifacio (bass guitar), Ariel Fernando (vocals), Paolo Camus (violin), Shawn Porteus (lead guitar), and Lorenz Sarrondo (vocals).

Musica Singers is now preparing for several upcoming performances notably Together in Song, an intercultural choral festival on March 16, and its maiden season’s finale, Musica: An Evening of Kundiman and Philippine Art Songs, on June 8 at the Seven Oaks Performing Arts Centre. Ticket reservation inquiries for both events should be sent to musicamb.finance@gmail.com.

MY Band and Musica Singers are on social media as @MusicaSingersMB and may be reached via e-mail at musicasingers2019@gmail.com for more information.

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Musica Singers at the CCFM Art Gallery. First row L-R: Elmer Aquino, Ren Bonifacio, Ariel Fernando, Lorenz Sarrondo. Second row L-R: Elizabeth De Leon, Milyn Armenio, Ashley Medina, Ira Alejo, Jean Lopez, Katrina Dimatulac, Jesse Alcasabas, Ymma Concepcion, Vina Dimayuga, Kate Tomo, Storme Zapata. Third row L-R: Jim Lopez, John Reyes, Ricardo L. Manalang, Dante Aviso, Emmanuel Dimatulac, Oscar Pantaleon. (Photo by Rollan Temporosa Photography.)

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The Pauline Boutal Amphitheatre of the Centre culturel franco-manitobain was packed for Musica Singers’ second concert for the season, “Music in Our Hearts,” which also featured MY Band. (Photo by Rollan Temporosa Photography.)