A MOTHER’S LOVE AND Passion for Music

As we celebrate Mother’s Day on the 2nd Sunday of May, it is time to celebrate Motherhood. Time to appreciate mothers and mother figures. A day of gift-giving with cards, flowers, candy, a meal in a restaurant or other treats to celebrate. The subject of our cover story, Gemma Aurora Belderol, is an extraordinary woman who has found a higher level of joy, contentment and awareness. She believes that when we are true to ourselves and to others, we are fulfilling what we are here for. When we are guided by pure love, our ego loses its power and we find total peace. She is grateful that her children and grandchildren have embraced these values through her guidance. Learning to let go of things that are beyond her control, moving through life with ease and grace, trusting that everything is working for the highest good for each and everyone sums it up.

A mother and grandmother, she is also an entrepreneur, the owner of “Rising Stars Music and Performing Arts” for 20 years, beginning in 1998. She grew up taking piano lessons at 7 years old and became good at it, making her parents proud. Her father, who was once mayor of Tagbilaran City, Philippines, (where she hails from) encouraged her to perform for dignitaries and at fundraising concerts. She loved music all through her life and started teaching music as she still does today. Her clientele grew and she decided to branch out into the performing arts, dance, etc… Most of her clients have stayed on for 10 years. Some students started since they were age 8.

She encourages others to discover their talents with “Rising Stars Music and Performing Arts”. With a dedicated staff and experienced teachers, it will help to build confidence, enhance self-esteem, encourage creativity, and teach leadership skills revolving around teamwork. The studio offers lessons to include piano, voice, guitar and other genres of music. There are group classes in ballet, hip-hop, zumba and other dance forms. When asked the secret or formula for being successful in business, Gemma Aurora simply replied, “sincerity, do it out of love, let people see it so it gravitates towards you and that’s how it spreads out.”

Being a vortex of joy with an appreciation for life, and while in the state of bliss, she has a vision to share the gifts of wisdom that life has taught her. Having just turned 70 years old is a big milestone for Gemma Aurora. She intends to make this year special and meaningful. She doesn’t feel, act nor look 70. To her, age is just a state of mind. Her belief is that when you embrace the wisdom life gives you, you feel ageless. Your body ages gracefully, while others burden themselves with challenges in life, Gemma Aurora chooses not to grow old even as she sees some people age or carry on with bitterness and unhappy faces. “The secret to looking young and beautiful at your age is to dance with the rhythm of life. Music holds a major key. It’s all about attitude. Go with the flow of things”, she declares. Every experience taught her to treat bumps on the road with grace and dignity. She is grateful for every blessing and believes that everything is all about choices one makes in life.

Gemma Aurora is blessed with 3 successful children and 6 adorable grandchildren. Her 3 children Mia, Lulu and Lorenzo are all very active with the studio. Most especially, Lulu, who teaches dance for ballroom cotillion and Quinceanera. And voice lessons too. Mia being the eldest daughter is a very good singer and composer. Lorenzo on the other hand is also a great singer who is more involved in theater. Our subject is very grateful for her life, as well as the things she has achieved and wanted to do. She sees her children and her family as God’s gifts and all are her gifts to the world. Thankful to have her best friend and spiritual partner, Marty, who she met at a right time in their lives, both of them continue to feed their souls with their love for life, music and spirituality. Gemma Aurora and Marty often attend workshops to quench their thirst for growth. They enjoy concerts, Broadway musicals and dancing. They love to travel the world to appreciate culture, most especially to Europe. They see themselves as soul mates having two opposite personalities, different backgrounds and lifestyles, and yet, are aligned with each other – one in heart, mind and spirit. They have learned to look at everything in life as a blessing and any challenge as a source of wisdom. They look for the best outcome from a situation and believe that things work out for the common good. They are living life fully every step of the way. There’s no retiring soon for her, music is her life and she loves her students. Aside from her busy schedule teaching music, she loves reading subjects on metaphysics.

Gemma Aurora Belderol is currently writing a book about her journey titled “The Journey of Love”. She describes writing this book as cathartic, healing and a joyful creation. It is all about leaving behind a priceless legacy to her loved ones from all the experiences and lessons learned in her lifetime. This book celebrates life and the path followed. The couple is inspired to share their story to all, readers from ages 17 to 70 and beyond! To quote part of the epiphany about the book, she says “What is life all about and what are we here for? I, as a professional musician often looks at life as a concerto. You are the soloist, the creator of your own melody of life, the theme of your song that makes you unique. With confidence, you walk your own path that is for you, not anyone else’s. As you use your God given birthright to choose what’s best for you, you tap into your own inner wisdom for guidance in your life. The performers in the orchestra of your life are the people and mentors supporting you in your journey. I was fortunate to be born into a family which taught me about God and was raised in a school that enhanced the values that I had learned from home. In my latter years, I have taught myself self-improvement skills by studying the wisdom of Abraham-Esther Hicks, Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Louise Hay, Sonia Choquette, Doreen Virtue, Eckhart Tolle and Don Miguel Ruiz, among others. These spiritual gurus have helped shape me into being the evolved person I am meant to be. God, the higher power is the divine conductor of our life. When we follow his lead, life becomes a beautiful masterpiece of art. Life is about living our truth, and having love – love for ourselves, others and above all, our divine source. We are all part of this divine energy and this energy is the source of our power. When you embrace the divine in you, your life will become heaven on earth, for you will find love, peace and joy within. No matter how smart you are, if you are not connected to our source of energy, you can’t fully express who you truly are. Life gives us the ability to manifest what we want if we allow the source to flow through us, not our ego self. An example is when I perform in concerts, I would let this divine energy channel through me and by doing so, I would feel the divine energy expressing through my music. Loving yourself is about honoring your true self and your values. You know who you are, what you want and you do what you are here for. When you live this truth about yourself, you feel secure and are able to love others freely without any agenda. You surround yourself with people, places and things that inspire you to live your highest potential and release those that drag you down and do not serve your higher purpose.

With all that’s been said and more as to where all that came from, watch out for more of Gemma Aurora Belderol’s stories in her book, “THE JOURNEY OF LOVE”. It was such a joy to have listened to Gemma Aurora’s story. She sets a good example for all mothers out there who are hard working, full of positivity, love, compassion and exude so much passion for life in their music. For Mother’s Day she doesn’t expect any surprises. But knowing her children and family, they always seem to surprise her with something. She’s thankful for having loving, thoughtful, caring children and grandchildren.

LORENZO CAUNAN

Graduate of the prestigious American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City, Lorenzo has been singing, acting, and dancing since the age of 3. Inspired by a vast array of world music, Lorenzo enjoys performing a wide range of styles from Pop to Broadway and from Jazz to Classical. Lorenzo has entertained thousands from the Pacific to the Atlantic as a Headlining Vocalist.

He performed in Boublil and Shonberg’s Epic Broadway Musical, Miss Saigon. Some of his favorite on stage moments includes singing the Lead Role of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel for Broadway Legend, John Raitt, as well as singing the role of Disney’s Aladdin opposite Leah Salonga. Lorenzo most recently opened for Regine Velasquez and Ogie Alcasid (“Mr. & Mrs. A” concert) at the Los Angeles Theater. He also performed for the 2nd anniversary celebration for Manila Up Magazine at the LA Hotel Downtown.

LULU WILLIAMS

Lulu Williams has been singing and dancing since the age of 4. She won several gold medals at her elementary school talent shows, and won a national singing competition for the Rustan’s Department Store in Manila, Philippines. She was featured in a national TV show as the winner of this competition, where she had the chance to sing a duet with Lea Salonga. She also opened for Marco Sison’s concert in Tagbilaran City, Bohol. When the family moved to the U.S., Lulu continued her love for performing. In high school, she formed a singing and dance group with her sister, Mia, and their group of friends, called Allure. They performed for several talent shows, car import shows, college friendship games, and night clubs. As one of the most popular girl groups of their time, they had the opportunity to open for famous rappers, including Jay-Z.

Lulu is very involved with Rising Stars Performing Arts, as a choreographer, vocal coach, event planner, emcee, and entertainer. She choreographs wedding dances, debuts, quincineras, and many different dances for special events. She is well-known for her funny humor as an Emcee, and her ability to entertain audiences. Last year alone, she choreographed and emceed over 50 different events.

This summer, Lulu and her sister, Mia, are establishing their own Talent Agency, Allure Talent & Entertainment, “A.T.E.”, named after their singing and dance group. They plan to develop and manage the multitalented talented students of Rising Stars Performing Arts, and specialize in promoting children with minority backgrounds.

Lulu is a certified intellectual property paralegal, and works for one of the largest fashion retailers of the world. She has a Master’s Degree in Business, with an emphasis in Marketing. She is married with four children.

MIA HUMPHREYS

Mia grew up playing classical music on the piano, and won several competitions during her elementary school years. She discovered her love for contemporary music (Jazz, blues, pop, and R&B), and started writing her own songs when she was 15. Throughout high school, she performed with different bands as a keyboardist and a back-up singer, and spent several years performing with the singing/dance group that she and her sister (Lulu) formed, Allure. After college, Mia was also part of a duo girl group that was signed by an independent label. They performed for several local shows, colleges, and night clubs. During this time, she also started co-producing music along side seasoned producers who have worked with famous rappers. Mia also sang lead vocals for a hip-hop band who opened for Phife Dawg (from A Tribe Called Quest).

Today, Mia loves performing with her family, and often sings duets with her brother, Lorenzo. She has worked in the financial industry as a Client Manager for many years, and helped establish a successful behavioral therapy business. Mia received her MBA from Pepperdine University. She and Lulu look forward to establishing Allure Talent & Entertainment (A.T.E.) this summer, which will highlight their multi-talented family and students of Rising Stars Performing Arts.

TERI WILLIAMS

At the young age of 10, Teri has already won the hearts of many, as a regular soloist at St. Stephen’s Baptist church. Teri inherited her mom’s vocal ability (Lulu Williams), and is able to deliver powerful renditions of Whitney Houston’s songs, “I have Nothing” and “One moment in Time.” Teri loves singing and dancing, and performs for many local talent shows, concerts, and fundraisers for Rising Stars Performing Arts. Teri is also a gifted athlete, and plays for an elite softball team who has won several championships.

CATALYST

Catalyst is a group of multi-talented individuals, who were handpicked by Lulu, to sing and dance for events. As the first act being developed and produced by A.T.E., they have already opened for the Birit Queens at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and Ogie Alcasid /Regine Velasquez at the Los Angeles Theater. They are scheduled to perform with Ariel Rivera this July. Catalyst consists of young dancers, singers, DJs, and actors. One of the members, Chasity Sabas, is currently running for this year’s Miss Philippines USA-Young competition.

ALANA PINE

Alana Danielle Pine is a twenty year-old, half Filipino and half African-American beauty who is emerging into the modeling scene. Alana entered Miss Philippines USA 2016, as her first pageant ever, and was named one of the top 10 finalists. She was blessed with the amazing opportunity to participate in New York Fashion Week in Fall 2016, walking for the very talented Willfredo Gerardo, where she experienced the ins and outs of runway modeling. She was also asked to walk for L.A. Fashion Week in the Spring 2017, where she modeled for both Willfredo Gerardo and his collaboration design, Arzamendi Style. She was also a featured model during Willfredo’s live interview on Univision. She recently modeled for the Manila Up’s 2nd anniversary celebration at the LA Hotel Downtown. Alana is currently concentrating on furthering her modeling career, as well as finishing her Bachelor’s degree in Business. She is a full-time student, and works part time for Behavioral Autism Therapies. She was featured in Manila Up Magazine’s November 2016 issue.

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