“a Summer Symphony With Faso”

Sunday September 1, 2019

Among the concert’s highlights were FASO’s performances of “Die Fledermaus Overture” by Johann Strauss and the “Triumphal March” from Verdi’s opera, “Aida.” The latter classic was performed by the orchestra and combined choirs with a trumpet ensemble, which played the fanfare section of the piece.

‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ numbers by talented youths among highlights of FASO’s historic debut at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Two combined choirs gloriously sang Freddie Mercury’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” with a full 73-piece orchestra and special numbers by talented youths were among the highlights in the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra’s (FASO) historic debut in the prestigious Walt Disney Concert Hall last August 3, 2019. Titled “A Summer Symphony with FASO,” the concert was a major event in the 11-year history of the orchestra, the only Filipino symphony orchestra outside of the Philippines which has become a vital Filipino-American cultural institution. Many of the featured performers also made their debut on the famed Walt Disney Concert Hall stage, home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.

Over the years, FASO has been offering musical opportunities to deserving talents. The prodigies performing with FASO, under musical director and conductor Robert Shroder are Nichole Aye, Mikaela Bautista, Samantha Morelos, Erica Delos Santos, Anastazya Reoma, Carly Rhoades, FASO Kids and the FASO Youth String Ensemble.

Brycen Hall, performed, joined by his parents, musical theater stalwarts Deedee Magno Hall and Cliffton Hall, in a special number.

Nichole Aye, who started playing the violin at the age of five, is a recipient of the Herbert Zipper Scholarship at the Colburn School.

Nichole performs in various recitals and has won awards in the Classics Alive Young Artists National Auditions and from the American String Teachers Association.

Mikaela Bautista, who has been singing since she was three years old, recently graduated from high school with cum laude honors.

Among Mikaela’s awards are from Gawad Amerika, which honored her as “Promising Best Child Performer,” “Los Angeles’ Best Female Child Performer of the Year” and “Promising Recording Artist of the Year.”

Erica Delos Santos, who has been playing the violin since the age of six, has performed as a guest soloist with the Pasadena Student Youth Orchestra and has played as concertmaster in performances both the Carnegie Hall and the White House. She is currently studying music at the Colburn School and is a member of their Student Youth Orchestra.

Samantha Morelos has been part of the California School of the Arts’ (CSARTS) Musical Theatre Conservatory inaugural class since it opened two years ago. In the first all-school musical of CSARTS in January 2018, where all grade levels across conservatories from 7th to 12th grade auditioned for “Pippin,” Samantha proved herself worthy of being in the ranks of high school students and professional child actors when she was cast as Pippin at 12 years old. Samantha’s casting broke gender and age barriers.

Anastazya Reoma was singing Celine Dion songs as early as when she was three years old. She learned to play the piano at the age of five, plays the drums and taught herself to play the ukulele.

Currently a signed talent of Impact Talent Group in Hollywood, she has appeared in Nickelodeon and Walmart TV commercials.

Carly Rhoades is a recording artist, songwriter, winner of several Sacramento singing contests. She is in high demand to sing in various local events. This year, she cowrote, recorded and released an original song called “In My Dreams.” She sang her original song in remembrance of fallen heroes during this year’s Memorial Day.

FASO Kids are comprised of children who participated in FASO’s education program and attended vocal workshops. FASO Kids performing in the concert included Mikaela Bautista, Sophia Cadorna, Bryce Gomez, Meliyah Greer, Sydney Haik, Zachlewis Maravilla, Rianne Martin, Kamea Miranda, Sam Morelos, Stazy Reoma, Amilla Umali and Olivia Zenetzis.

The FASO Youth String Ensemble is a product of the orchestra’s education and outreach program. FASO started this ensemble of about 40 children in September 2018. The orchestra invested in violins to provide free access for the children who do not have the instrument. FASO, a non-profit organization, provided string classes to the children, none of whom have played a violin before. The special evening’s guest performers also included the UST Singers Alumni, composed of former members of the University of Santo Tomas’ award-winning mixed choral ensemble, and the Los Angeles Vocal Artists (LAVA), a mixed ensemble that has quickly earned recognition since it was formed in March 2018.

A rousing highlight was the performance of Freddie Mercury’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” featuring the combined majestic voices of the UST Singers Alumni and LAVA performed with the 73-piece orchestra, amid the state-of-the-art acoustics of the hardwood-paneled Walt Disney Concert Hall’s main auditorium.

The combined choirs and FASO also performed a George Canseco medley as a tribute to the late prolific composer of Filipino movie theme songs that have become pop classics. Arranged by Orlando Dela Cruz, the medley consists of “Dito Ba?,” “Gaano Kadalas ang Minsan,” “Paano Ba ang Mangarap” and “Ngayon.” The FASO Kids and the orchestra performed a medley, arranged by Louie Ramos, FASO’s arrangerin- residence, of Filipino lullabies from various regions of the Philippines, including Southern Tagalog (“Sa Ugoy ng Duyan”), Bicol (“Caturog Na, Nonoy”) and Visayas (“Ili-Ili Tulog Anay”).

Also in the program was an “Overture of Philippine Folk Songs,” arranged by American composer and arranger Bernard Green, which is considered one of the best orchestra arrangements of Filipino folk songs.

“Vocalises on Morricone,” arranged by Professor Fidel Calalang, Jr., was a musical ode to Ennio Morricone, the Italian composer of memorable scores for cinema and television.

Saunder Choi’s orchestral arrangement of “Leron, Leron Sinta,” the timeless, beloved Philippine folk song, was also performed.

Many enthralling musical numbers were presented to the delight of concert goers, and made a history on the night of August 3rd 2019. www.fasofoundation.org.

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