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Filipino American Symphony Orchestra set to play in Glendale on Saturday

Filipino American Symphony Orchestra Photo © http://globalnation.inquirer.net
Filipino American Symphony Orchestra Photo © http://globalnation.inquirer.net

BROADWAY actress, teen drum prodigy among special guests in FASO’s Aug. 13 concert

Broadway actress Joan Almedilla, 13-year-old drum prodigy Vinnie Aguas and other outstanding Fil-Am talents are joining legendary veteran entertainer Sylvia La Torre and her singer-actress granddaughter Anna Maria Perez de Tagle as special guests of the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra (FASO) in its summer concert on Saturday, August 13, 6 p.m. at the John Wayne Performing Arts Center in Glendale, California.

FASO, the only Filipino symphony orchestra outside of the Philippines, is noted for its quality, highly entertaining concerts. The trailblazing orchestra, under the baton of musical director and conductor Robert “Bob” Shroder, is comprised of volunteer musicians from various sectors of the Fil-Am community.

The show is shaping up to be the Fil-Am concert to attend this summer, with its repertoire of Filipino classic and contemporary music gems, cherished movie and television tunes, including themes from “Star Wars” and “Harry Potter” films and Broadway favorites.

FASO will also play “Peter & the Wolf,” Sergei Prokofiev’s well-loved children’s classic, to be narrated by Joan Almedilla.

Almedilla portrayed Kim in “Miss Saigon” on Broadway and is the first Asian to play the role of Fantine in “Les Miserables” on the Broadway national tour. She was last seen in “Criers for Hire,” which became the highest grossing premiere play at the East West Players (EWP).

This August, Almedilla opens EWP’s new season with “Mama Bares: Once Upon a Play Date,” a concert featuring other Broadway moms, Deedee Magno Hall, Ai Cheung and Jennifer Paz.

Sylvia La Torre (left)  and granddaughter Anna Mara Perez De Tagle
Sylvia La Torre (left) and granddaughter Anna Mara Perez De Tagle

Sure to thrill the audience in the Aug. 13 show is Vinnie Aguas, a teen drum prodigy. At the age of 12, Vinnie was discovered by David Benoit, the Grammy nominated jazz pianist and composer who is an honorary FASO board member. Aguas currently plays for the Asia America Youth Symphony, which Benoit leads as music director.

A gifted drummer, Aguas has been featured on several drum video sites. His own drum playing videos reached more than 200,000 views.

Performing a special OPM number is Mikaela Bautista, a young vocal prodigy at 14 years old. Bautista, whom FASO proudly claims as its discovery, also guested in the orchestra’s enthusiastically received last concert, “FASO Goes Pops!”

Bautista has been participating in FASO’s vocal workshops, which educates and trains children, from ages 6 to 17, on proper vocal techniques.

The FASO Children’s Ensemble will also be spotlighted. In the ensemble composed of young, exceptional singers are Kayla Arellano, Maggi Avant, Christina Blay, Sabrina Evangelista, Bryce Gomez, Andreas Makiling, Adrianne Mangune, Ryanne Mangune and Kaela Raquel.

Sponsors include Pacific Western Bank, a concert master sponsor, Island Pacific Supermarket and Ishkaster Media, a media sponsor.

Titled “FASO Plays Prokofiev’s ‘Peter & the Wolf,’ ” the concert starts at 6:00 p.m. Festivities before the show begin at 4:00 p.m. with an “orchestra instrument petting zoo” in the theater lobby and food trucks in front of the theater on Broadway Street. Audience members are encouraged to bring “Star Wars” lightsabers and “Harry Potter” wands.

John Wayne Performing Arts Center is at 1440 E. Broadway, Glendale, California 91205.

For tickets, call Andy Tecson (323) 467-5096; Bob Shroder (818) 395-8936; and Arlene Ferrolino (213) 248-9850. Tickets are at $30, $40, $60, $75 and $100. More information at www.fasofoundation.org.

Abner Galino
The author is a poet and a writer. He was a cultural worker before he became a reporter for Tinig ng Masa and Malaya Midday Edition during the Marcos regime. He later became a reporter of People's Tonight shortly after 1986 EDSA Revolution. He went on to become its Chief of Reporters, City Editor and News Editor. He retired after 15 years in the Journal Group of Publications. He now writes for Weekend Balita and the US Asian Post (USAP), weekly Filipino-American newspapers based in Los Angeles, California.

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