QUITE uncharacteristically, I found myself watch-ing a concert and a musical last month. When you find me doing something out of the ordinary, it’s usually due to special circumstances.

I watched ONE: A concert for a better world, staged by Play House & B.R.I.G.H.T. Academy last February 19 because well, my niece, Tracy, was in it. I enjoyed the different musical numbers presented by the students although during my niece’s solo, I found myself unable to concentrate on the show because I was too busy praying.

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The stand-out performers of the night were the D’Tonics, a grade school boys’ choir composed of Liam Camasura, James David Tuñacao, Ezra Weigel, Zidon Tatoy, Jimz Peritos, Robin Tubungbunua, Nasrodin Bandong and Luke Gagnon. The amazing bundle of talent, James David Tuñacao, brought the house down more than once.

Sean Uy and Taylor Kim’s songs accompanied by Randy Pages on the guitar were quite entertaining and so were James David Tuñacao’s number with Jana Pages on the ukelele. I swell with pride as well when I see Jana perform because she is the daughter of two students of mine, Sun.Star Cebu columnist, John Pages and his wife Jasmin.

ONE was a remarkable production that showcased the musical talents of students, some as young as five. The multi-awarded Maestro Dennis Gregory A. Sugarol, conductor and musical director of ONE, has once more woven his magic and brought out the musicality in each child.

Amidst poverty, global warming and war—current realities that are setting people apart, PlayHouse & B.R.I.G.H.T. Academy believes the world needs change. ONE was proudly produced as a concert for a cause where each musical number uplifted hearts and souls with the message of peace, love and hope. Allen Zaldarriaga, the school’s founding director couldn’t have been prouder.

The musical I watched last Feb. 4 called “13 Daughters” was staged by Sacred Heart-Hijas de Jesus. I watched the play because well, my best friend, Camille, invited me to watch it with her and because Sacred Heart-Hijas de Jesus, my alma mater, is close to my heart.

“Thirteen Daughters” is a hilarious and heartwarming musical set in 19th century Hawaii about Chun, a rich Chinese merchant and his wife, Emmy, a Hawaiian princess and their thirteen daughters. Tradition dictates that the eldest daughter must marry before all the other daughters can marry. The problem arises when the other daughters receive marriage proposals except Isabel, the eldest daughter, who seems more interested in missionary work rather than marriage.

The gala I attended had Cast A in performance. Johanna Faye Yap as Kinau gave an outstanding performance. So did Ariel Louise Tan as Malia, the most beautiful daughter of Chun and Emmy. I enjoyed the most, though, the performance of Tiffany Louise L. Neri as Cecilia.

Tiffany who is the daughter of JayJay & Lotlot Neri was simply a delight in her role as the tomboy daughter of Chun and Emmy. She displayed spunk, sincerity and thespian skills beyond her young years. As always, director Benjie Diola did not disappoint.

It is always a joy to see schools promote the performing arts. My congratulations to everyone involved in these productions.

(sunstarcebucolumnist@yahoo.com)