Footnotes & Fillings

Worth your second glance

Tag: concert

There’s More to Music, I’ve Learned from Bro. Eli

Music is interesting and very much enchanting. Words woven with notes, or notes woven with words, or just the notes themselves can tickle your heart and bring about a multitude of feelings. It can touch your mind and launch a thousand memories, even relive a long-forgotten dream.

It has been with us- enchanting us- since time immemorial. Odes to triumph and losses, hymns of love and sorrow, symphonies of bliss and melancholy– men have enveloped a plethora of emotions and themes in musical pieces.

Music’s irrefutable charm has enthralled many, including me, and perhaps you too.  Personally, I have viewed music as a way to connect with others, a way to confirm that “Oh, the writer has the same sentiments as mine”. And as I tried to craft songs too— on plain papers, on edges of lecture notebooks, and on my phone— I realized that it is a wonderful outlet for my emotions.

But, throughout the years, I have learned that music can be so much more than that. Bro. Eli Soriano, a man of music and a much-loved evangelist celebrating his 50th year of service to God  this year, has taught me important things about this well-adored indulgence.

Music, how old is it really?

You have probably come across this question once, in one way or another: How old is music, really? I love music, but I do not know its history, and it seemed quite absurd. Knowing its history can make me appreciate it more, I thought. But for a long time, I have this question left unanswered.  Even the answers provided by the superb searching prowess of Google were not much of a satisfaction. But thank God, one evening, during a music festival’s grand finals night, I was able to hear the answer.

“Music is older than the world and praise songs are the oldest of musical kinds,” Bro. Eli shared citing the Bible verse Job 38:7:

When the morning stars sang together, and all the songs of God shouted for joy?

It was a joy to have a question answered, and I even got a bonus— I learned what was the oldest among all sorts of music!

Why sing praise songs?

Today, one pressing fact is that praise songs are not the ones considered by many as LSS-worthy. Scan someone’s playlist, and more often than not, praise songs are not included. But why? Are there too few artists composing such kind of music? Is there no market for these songs? For whatever reasons that may be brought about, the point is, men have been missing the great bounty singing praise songs brings.

Bro. Eli is always adamant in emphasizing the benefit of making and singing songs dedicated to our Creator’s works and loving kindness. In one musical summit of the Members Church of God International (where he is the Presiding Minister), he revealed that “singing to God is one of the few things that we can do directly to Him. We cannot serve God with our hands. But we can offer him the fruit of our lips, praising His name.”

Below, I share some words that Bro. Eli himself posted through his Twitter account. These are few reasons why we must keep our “devotion of singing and writing songs of praise to God.”

Bro Eli and Music 1

Bro. Eli and Music 2

Through these words, I have found the ultimate inspiration to go on humming praise songs every now and then. Anyway, as what Bro. Eli also told, it is not the voice from our vocal cords that counts— it is that voice from our hearts.

Music, for the benefit of others

Indeed, music, praise songs especially, offers us a grand meed, but it does not end there. Being a philanthropic man Bro. Eli is (he maintains orphanages and an infant care center and regularly mounts medical and legal missions), he used music as an avenue to help others.

Through the proceeds of the albums he made through the years, he was able to sustain the charitable projects he initiated and launched. Aside from the albums that serve as a compilation of his beloved songs, he has also held concerts that nonetheless aid in the maintenance of his public service programs.

With these albums and concerts celebrating good music, I, along with fellow supporters, am also given the opportunity to reach out to the needy alongside having relaxation and entertainment.  Having music icons such as John Claude Gummoe of The Cascades, The Platters, Air Supply and the Asia’s Queen of Songs Pilita Corales, seen live on stage is just one big bonus.

The Platters with Bro Eli

On the stage of the Ang Dating Daan Convention Center in Apalit, Pampanga, Bro. Eli Soriano sings with the vocal group, The Platters, during the evangelist’s 49th birthday concert last year (Photo by Jason Consigo).

 

Bro. Eli released albums ("Dala Kong Nakalimbag", "The Songs That I Love", "B-Side", "Bro. Eli Soriano's Wonderful World", and "Songs from My Heart") not only to share well-loved songs like "And I Love You So" and "La Historia de un Amor" but more importantly, to use the proceeds in maintaining his charitable programs.

Bro. Eli released albums (“Dala Kong Nakalimbag”, “The Songs That I Love”, “B-Side”, “Bro. Eli Soriano’s Wonderful World”, and “Songs from My Heart”) not only to share well-loved songs like “And I Love You So” and “La Historia de un Amor” but more importantly, to use the proceeds in maintaining his charitable programs.

Music truly is a precious treasure for us. Its “magic” has given refuge to men who seek to express their emotions and feelings stylishly, and has provided sanctuary to men who look for sense of belonging, a confirmation that what they feel is universal. More importantly, through the things I have learned from Bro. Eli, I realized how music can bring us closer to God, and how it can bring our charities closer to people.

 

 

 

 

Bro. Eli’s Charity Concert ‘Remember When’ Relives the Music of Yesteryear

Last night, the time when music was still music was remembered.

Following the festive International Thanksgiving of the Members Church of God International (MCGI) last March 28-30 was an evening of celebration of meaningful songs from the last decades. Entitled Remember When, this charity concert brought together thousands of congregants at the MCGI Headquarters in Apalit, Pampanga and at other more chapters all around the globe.

As early as 6 p.m. (Philippine time), the ecstatic mood was already set as MCGI-grown talents staged thrilling musical performances. This atmosphere continued to escalate as local artists Hammilan Pavoreal and Lilibeth Garcia rendered their versions of “Memory”, “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”,  and “If Ever You’re in my Arms Again.”

Rey Valera, a renowned Filipino hitmaker, sent the audience into bursts of laughter as he narrated comic anecdotes about his career as an artist. The crowd sang with him as he crooned his classic hits “Naaalala Ka”, “Maging Sino Ka Man”, and “Kung Kailangan Mo Ako”.

Rey Valera

The Platters with Bro Eli

The almost two-hour performance of The Platters, a very successful vocal group from the 50s, was one of the highlights of the event. They shared their passion for music with the audience as they sang their chart-topping hits like “Only You”, “The Great Pretender”, “Harbor Lights”, “He’s Mine”, and “Twilight Time”.

And who would forget the remarkable moments of delight during their act? A rendition of “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” together with the Presiding Minister to MCGI, Bro. Eli Soriano. A lady invited to be with them on the stage and then serenaded with the sweet song “My Prayer”. A member of group, then wearing a genuine smile, wholeheartedly gave red roses to some lucky ladies. All these added splendor to the evening.

The ambiance was at its best, yet the night was still young.

Soon after Kuya Daniel Razon went on stage, he led the crowd in singing a birthday song for Bro. Eli Soriano. The international evangelist will be celebrating his 49th birthday in spirit on April 7, a commemoration of the day when he was baptized in the Church. A set of standard songs–“Diana” , “I Left My Heart in San Francisco”, “What Kind of Fool Am I”, “Together Again,” and “Mr. Lonely” to name a few–performed by Kuya Daniel followed the gracious greeting of the congregants to Bro. Eli.

Kuya Daniel

Bro Eli Soriano

Carrying on the remembrance of the music from the past, Bro. Eli lent his voice singing heartwarming songs with “Through the Years” being one of the most sentimental and moving.

He also cited verses and shared wisdom to complete last night’s wonderful concert. He said that the proceeds of the event will go to the construction of a convention center in Metro Manila that will be used as an avenue to centralize the charitable works of the Church. He further explained that in the course of doing this endeavor, there will always be hindrances. He then firmly uttered, “Let us be vigilant. Let us be watchful.”

The rest of his loving reminder he expressed through tearfully singing “Walk with Faith in Your Heart”— a sight that for sure has lingered in everyone’s heart.  The evening ended with the yesteryear’s music relived, and the ardent faith of the believers edified.

(Photos by Jason Consigo)

Ngayon, Bukas at Kailanman: A Night of Music, A Story of Love

A set of performers with brilliant voices and moves gracing a whimsical stage. A crowd’s gleeful shout intensifying the splendor of the evening. A story of a couple reminiscing how their love has gone strong, and how it will abound until the farthest future.

After the three-day International Thanksgiving of Members Church of God International (MCGI) at the Ang Dating Daan Convention Center in Apalit, Pampanga and at key chapters worldwide, the congregants stayed for another night to witness Ngayon, Bukas at Kailanman (Now, Tomorrow and Forever), a concert for a cause held last December 24.

Ngayon, Bukas at Kailanman

The event commenced with a Broadway-like production number of the Music Ministry and Teatro Kristiano, the MCGI’s performing groups, together with local artist Hammilan Pavoreal. The presentation celebrated music that every generation has fallen in love with such as “Tonight” and “Memory”, theme songs from The West Side Story and Cats, the Spice Girls’ “Wanna Be”, Adele’s “Someone Like You”, Parokya ni Edgar’s “Harana” and the Korean hit “Oppa Gangnam Style.”

Ms. Pilita Corales, Asia’s Queen of Songs, lent her time to add loveliness to the night. Her signature voice and stylish humor never failed to send the crowd into cheerful applaud. She constantly wowed the audience with Filipino classics like “Ikaw Lamang ang Aking Iibigin Magpakailanman” and her rendition of “Maalaala Mo Kaya” with Bro. Eli Soriano, Presiding Minister to MCGI.

More than just a musical event, the concert offered a short film starring the country’s most promising artists, Dante Rivero, Boots Anson- Roa, JC De Vera, Isabel Oli, Louella de Cordova, Richard Reynoso and Kuya Daniel Razon.

Directed by Pat Perez, the story revolved around a couple, Angelo and Melissa (Rivero and Anson-Roa), celebrating an enduring love shaped by the yesteryears’ sweetest memories and fortifying obstacles. The young couple’s roles were played by De Vera and Oli.

Ngayon, Bukas at Kailanman (1)

Photo taken by Jason Consigo and Beth Borromeo

Perhaps, one of the most remarkable dialogues of the film was that of Razon’s and De Vera’s. Razon, Aneglo’s big brother or kuya in the story, emphasized how the words “Hindi ko na kaya” (I cannot do it anymore) implies that we cannot accomplish things on our own- we need guidance, help and mercy of God. And that we can have through a fervent prayer.

The tale narrated not a love story but of a story of love that transcends time.

Ms. Pilita Corales, Bro. Eli, Kuya Daniel and his wife, Ms. Arlene Razon added spark to the short film as they rendered all-time favorite love songs such as “Basta’t Magkasama Tayo”, “God Knows”, “What I Did for Love”, “Please be Careful with my Heart”, “I Just Called to Say I Love You” and “Fly Me to the Moon” in between.

The night ended with a few more performances and a message from Bro. Eli. He explained that the proceeds of this concert will be used for the construction of a convention center in Metro Manila to cater more Church members and guests. “It’s a special form of entertainment or also a way for us to advance, to fund a very priced challenge beginning outside the Church,” he said.

With that, people were left in much awe, waiting for another night of music and stories of love and charity.

A Wonderful November

Looks like November is a month of celebrations.

As the 32nd anniversary tribute of the multi-awarded religious program Ang Dating Daan kicked off earlier this month, a benefit concert entitled Keeping the Love Alive was held last November 21 in commemoration of Kuya Daniel Razon’s 29th year in service to God and to humanity. A Worldwide Bible Exposition and a thanksgiving offering followed these events.

One splendid, musical night

Thousands have gathered at the Ang Dating Daan Convention Center in Apalit, Pampanga to witness and to relive songs from yesteryears. As soon as local performers like Gail Blanco and Jayson Fernandez set the mood for the night, the crowd was caught by surprise as the legendary band Air Supply took the stage without any introduction, opening their almost-two-hour performance with their hit “Even the Nights are Better.”

Though their hair has turned gray, Russell Hitchcock and Graham Russell’s voices sounded like they were still the duo who conquered the airwaves in the 80s. Yes, the Air Supply is still the Air Supply for they untiringly performed one song after the other (“Goodbye”, “Chances”, “The One That You Love” and “The Power of Love” to name a few). It was almost 10 in the evening when the band bid goodbye but the musical vibrancy was not yet ready to sleep.

Keeping the Love Alive (1)

Keeping the Love Alive (2)

Photos taken by Sophiya Baluyot

Hammilan Pavoreal, a local artist, did not fail to wow the crowd waiting for the second half of the evening with his versions of the classics such as “Just Once”, “Please Don’t Ask Me”, “Hanggang”, and “Keeping the Love Alive.”

The birthday celebrant, Kuya Daniel Razon, entered the stage with the jazz song “Sway”. He did a medley of 80s songs which he told was part of his young adulthood years. He melted everyone’s heart with his interpretations of “Lady”, “Leaving on a Jetplane”, “Babe” and most especially with “Please Be Careful With My Heart” which he sang with his lovely wife.

Another notable highlight of the concert was the set of heartfelt performances of Members Church of God International (MCGI)’s Bro. Eli Soriano. He soothed everyone’s souls with good music such as “I Just Called to Say I Love You”, “To Love Somebody”, “Words”, and “Through the Years.” As a biblical man, he nevertheless cited verses from time to time.

Aside from the music, what the attendees has brought home was Bro. Eli’s tender words of gratitude and sincere aspiration. “I hope we will always be one in doing good to people…God loves people. God wants people to be saved. And this is why we are doing this concert.”

And as the month approaches its end…

Bro. Eli and Kuya Daniel again shared their time to cater spiritual queries from all over the world as the Ang Dating Daan held a Worldwide Bible Exposition last Friday, November 23. A total of 15 remote points were served but thousands of ADD Coordinating Centers across the globe were also opened to accommodate more people seeking to hear wisdom straight from the Bible. Live feed were also provided to online fans via Twitter (@AngDatingDaanTV and @TheOldPathTV) and Facebook (Facebook.com/AngDatingDaanTV and Facebook.com/TheOldPath).

The next day, the members of Church of God International offered their sacrifices of thanksgiving as Kuya Daniel, MCGI’s Vice-Presiding Minister, remembered his 29th year in selflessly serving our Creator and his fellowmen. The songs of praises and all the biblical truths and advices were a delight to everyone’s soul. What transpired that evening and what the congregants felt were beyond description—unspeakable, simply put. So let me just leave you this line from We are Blessed, a song composed by Kuya Daniel himself,

“I want to thank You and praise You from the deepest part of me”

Indeed, all we can do is to thank the One who gave us the chance to behold this very,very wonderful month!