Archdiocese of Manila launches Patron of the Arts concert

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013


A NEW star-studded show will add luster to the Philippine entertainment scene every year.

Organized by the Jesuit Communications Foundation for the Archdiocese of Manila, the "Patron of the Arts" is a benefit concert that will bring the country's best artists together to perform and support specific projects of the Manila Archdiocese.

The Patron of the Arts is the brainchild of Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle.

"The call of [Pope Benedict XVI] for the new evangelization impels us to look into new forms of art," he explained, "and into how we encourage artists to infuse their art forms with what is noble, beautiful, good and true."

He shared that while the Catholic Church is visible in mass media through the Catholic Mass Media Awards, Radio Veritas and TV Maria programs, it needed to make an impact also in the arts.

The annual concert will spotlight Filipino artists who distinguished themselves with awards or were featured in notable shows on television or theater for that year.

The concert is patterned after Great Britain's popular "Royal Variety Show," where top performers dazzle the Queen of England and the Royal Family.

For the "Patron of the Arts," entertainers will perform before an appreciative audience led by the Cardinal.

"Our vision is to sustain the 'Patron of the Arts' as a mission, a dialogue between faith and art," said Tagle.

First Benefit Concert

The first "Patron of the Arts" concert was held on December 12, 2012 at the Meralco Theater. It coincided with the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the first anniversary of Cardinal Tagle as Archbishop of Manila.

Distinguished artists such as Noel Cabangon, Las Pinas Boys Choir, 92AD, Koro Ilustrado, Bukas Palad and Hangad performed traditional English and Filipino Christmas jingles with skill and humor.

The Whiplash executed complicated jazz steps. While husband-and-wife duo Isay Alvarez and Robert Sena charmed the audience with Christmas jingles, a Phantom of the Opera medley and their own rendition of songs from Les Miserables, the show where they had first met and fallen in love.

A highlight of the program was the lifetime achievement award. Called "Catholic Award for the Arts," this tribute is given to outstanding Filipino artists who made great contributions in their fields.

Lisa Macuja-Elizalde became one of the show's first two awardees for her feats in dance as prima ballerina and currently as a ballet mentor.

Another award was given posthumously to director Marilou Diaz-Abaya for her accomplishments in film.

The concert's finale was Tagle sharing a few insights on the role of art in elevating the spirit.

“When we experience deep, deep feelings, words are not enough. We turn to symbols; and symbols are art,” he said.

He belted out songs "I Will Go the Distance," the Filipino version of the Magnificat "Ang Puso Ko'y Nagpupuri" and a song about the Philippine's newest saint Pedro Calungsod entitled, "Kuya Pedro." He was given a standing ovation for his efforts.

The Cardinal also thanked those who supported the concert and its initial beneficiary, which is the renovation of the Manila Cathedral.

The cathedral, also known as the Primary Basilica of the Philippines, was closed on February 2012 due to experts' reports of serious structural defects.

Estimated cost for the church's restoration is a minimum of P90 million. (PR)

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