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October is Filipino American History Month

Praise Release

This is the Consuls General in Chicago Concert Series, initiated by the French Consulate, and held at the Art Institute of Chicago on February 18, 2009. The Philippines was represented by the Heritage Singers - who are the cultural arm of the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS Wisconsin and Midwest Chapters.

Esther Hana is a Filipina who is founder and leader of the Philippine Rondalla of Chicago. She is a pianist and artist of international fame and has several CD's to her name.

Judy is a Coloratura Soprano. Other members of the regular Heritage Singers are with various Opera Groups around the country - on tour, and still others could not take off from work.

Since the program was an hour of Filipino music, HAPAG Executive Director Gerry prepared a power point of Amorsolo's paintings depicting pastoral scenes.  Esther played "A Rose" as a final piece, (a tribute to the French initiative for this series) which you probably know is a French song in its original version. The French Consul (who is a tenor) bolted up - unrehearsed and spontaneously - to sing the French version to the surprise of the audience and to tremendous applause. Thus, concluded the performance.

The performers were given bouquets of roses, and the crowd milled to talk to them and congratulate them afterward. Don Tagala (mentioned in the praise release) is a friend of the Philippine contingent who covers the Chicago portion for Balitang America (a news segment of the Filipino Channel, ABS-CBN). Jesse Domingo is a videographer who has videoed all the performances of the Heritage Group from the very beginning with hopes of producing a documentary when they become famous (which they think they will become).

There were six consulates before the Philippine performance namely, Austria, Korea, France, Poland, Switzerland and Thailand. Other countries that still need to perform are: China, Spain, Germany, Croatia, Mexico, Japan and Italy. They were told that
so far - their performance was the BEST.  Cabrera treated them to lunch. Speaking to the performers and Consul General Blesila who treated them to lunch, they were still on a HIGH, so euphoric that they were incoherent.

 Balitang America Feature - March 2009

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