Costanilla: Sinulog Idol winner Chang also bags Cebu Pop best interpreter award

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By Sam Costanilla

Spotlight

Sunday, January 26, 2014


WINNER. She sang the Jade Castro composition Ayaw Akog Biyai (Don’t Leave Me) so soulfully and meaningfully that the eight-man panel of judges of this year’s Cebu Popular Music Festival, a.k.a. Cebu Pop, picked her to receive the best interpreter trophy and the P10,000 cash that the Cebu Arts Foundation Inc. allocated. We are referring to Jacqueline Bual Chang, a petite songbird who also happens to be the very first grand champion of the Sinulog Idol singing competition when it was launched four years ago. Regional Trial Court Judge Simeon Dumdum Jr. chaired this year’s Cebu Pop panel of judges.

Significant. Chang’s Cebu Pop victory should be considered so significant on her part for two reasons: first, it was her very first time to join this particular competition; and second, Ayaw Akog Biyai was also adjudged as the grand prize-winning song. After the awarding ceremony at the Cebu Coliseum last Jan. 17, we talked to some members of the audience and all of them fully agreed with the judges’ choice. To us, she beautifully gave justice to Castro’s work and he was so right in choosing her to interpret it. Chang’s soothing voice and the very delicate ending part of the song that she did with much ease should be credited to her victory.

Trio. Incidentally, three other Cebu Pop interpreters, who were also previous Sinulog Idol singing competition products, garnered the third place after singing Russel Alegado’s I Love Cebu, an upbeat composition about Cebu’s beauty and its rich cultural and tourism attractions. Raechelle Mae Faelnar, Rovee Fernandez and Jem Keziah Felicilda did the song with real gusto. We noticed that the audience was truly delighted with the trio’s performance. Fidel Cascabel Jr., another Sinulog Idol product, later joined them in a brief rap portion. It is important to mention here that all of them, as well as the rest of the previous Sinulog Idol winners and finalists, were trained by Jay Unchuan and the other mentors of the Center for Pop Music Philippines that has its Cebu branch on Maxilom Ave.

Guest. Before the Cebu Pop winners were announced, yours truly as the emcee invited past champion Sheryn Mae Regis to join us onstage so that she could announce something. After her announcement, the crowd shouted: “Sample, sample, sample!”

She obliged and wowed them with an impromptu number titled Through The Fire. Regis is currently based in Texas with husband Earl and their two kids. I failed to ask her what she is doing there now.

Genres. The introduction of three genres or song categories starting this year gave the Cebu Pop a fresh feel—not to mention the re-introduction of a live band as accompaniment to the songs. For next year, the genres would be R&B or hip hop, Cebuano/Visayan rock and pop ballad. We encourage local songwriters to start working on their compositions now. Deadline for submission of entries is July 31.

Honoree. This year’s Cebu Pop honored songwriter Allan Jayme Rabaya, whose composition Kausa, Nabasa Ang Tubig won in a previous staging of the competition. Although he now moves around in a wheelchair, he managed to attend the event. We were so glad to see him once again although conversing with him is a bit difficult. He can hardly speak but he can still recognize familiar faces. Let us all pray for Rabaya’s speedy recovery. We miss his amazing way of playing the piano.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 27, 2014.

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