Diaspora News

Concert marks Buwan ng Wika celebration in Filipinotown

By Abner Galino

Michael Keith poses with fellow performer Sydney Noelle (2nd from right) and host Rinoa Felix. Also in the picture are members of the TROPAE Group – Abner and Odette Galino and Elizabeth Zaide. Photo by Tony Garcia

THE “Buwan ng Wika” celebration at the Filipino Cultural Center (FCC) in Los Angeles was remarkably amplified with the sterling performances of veteran performer Jo “Live Wire” Awayan, newly-arrived Philippine world singing champion Cristiani Rebada and the rising local young star Michael Keith.

The Johaness Line Dance and Cultural Group was a revelation — injecting the show with a folksy and spirited atmosphere. Aside from performing the front act, the dance group later joined the main performers on stage as “back up dancers,” which greatly enhanced the excitement in the house.

Michael Keith (who sung, danced and played guitar), showed the audience how he has steadily been transforming into a total performer.

On Friday’s show, Michael also showed his ability to involve his audience into his act, resulting in a burst of energy and glee in the house.

Rebada, the World Championships of the Performing Arts (WCOPA) 2017 grand champion, lived up to his billing. He performed four Original Pilipino Music (OPM) songs that amply showed the incredible range of his voice and his versatility.

Rebada particularly impressed the 2017 WCOPA judges by singing operatic tenor, in the style of Italian legend Luciano Favarotti.

Jo “Live Wire” Awayan, who insisted on a very short introduction, put the exclamation point to the show’s finale.

As she has been known for, Jo Awayan’s energy and charm quickly filled the room as she stepped on the stage. She masterfully weaved music and humor by delivering hilarious jokes in between songs.

Jo Awayan engaged not only her audience, but as well as her fellow artists, particularly Michael Keith.

Guest artist Sydney Noelle was also a revelation. The 12-year-old Filipina American is a singer, songwriter and an actress from Orange County, California.

The show was competently hosted by 2018 Miss Teen Cosmos Rinoa Felix and Miss Teen Mundial 2017 Nathalie Barry.

The show was hastily organized for the celebration of Buwan ng Wika by the Philippine Institute for Language, Arts and Culture (PILAC), the TROPAE Group and the Filipino Cultural Center.

DJ Karl provided the show’s lights and sound.

The show was written and directed by Beyond Deadlines’ Los Angeles Bureau Chief Abner Galino.


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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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