I had the pleasure of watching the first ever Akapela Open last night at the Meralco Theater. It was a contemporary a capella singing contest participated in by various groups all over the country. Beloved Maestro Ryan Cayabyab was the brains behind this project and he had the support of the PhilPop Foundation and many other companies in this venture to further yet another aspect of Original Pilipino Music.
A total of 9 groups made it to the finals (I understand several groups auditioned from Metro Manila and many provinces well) - and three groups were chosen as winners.
The show opened with an a capella medley arranged by Mr.C himself and performed by RCS singers and Baihana.
Almost all groups (all except 1) performed with a beat-boxer and I was pleasantly surprised to see that what used to be somewhat of a novelty (there was a time that it seemed to me only the Akafellas could do this sort of thing) is now becoming almost a standard requirement for contemporary a capella performances in this country.
And here are the 9 contestants. (I hope I got the group names and spelling right.)
While judges deliberated, the 3 hosts for that evening (I would've appreciated if they had introduced themselves in the beginning of the show!) had the audience in stitches with their a capella improvisation segment.
And then awarding time came.
Best vocal arrangement (all vocal arrangements had to be original) went to the group 1415.
Third Prize Winner was 1415.
Second Prize Winner was Pinopela.
First Prize went to Akapela Go.
My personal favorite among the contestants was Pinopela, who won Second Prize, but I do believe the First Prize winner Akapella Go (love the name!) deserved their victory, too - considering the level of difficulty of singing when you have practically just a quartet plus a beat-boxer (who gave a solid performance too, by the way). I had a couple of friends who were members of Third Prize Winner 1415 as well so I'm happy for them, too!
If there was an award for best beat-boxer though, I would have given it to Taftonic's female beat-boxer who surprised us all and made the audience break the rule of not applauding until the number was over. Wouldn't be one bit surprised if she started appearing on TV and making a career of this talent of hers. (I wonder if she'd be open to performing with our La Salle group Mass Appeal. La Salle din naman eh. Hmm...;-) )
Although I continue to sing with a couple of choirs, I have had limited experience in singing a capella with microphones onstage, and that limited experience has made me realize how difficult and even confusing and disorienting it can be to hear your voice from another source and still have to balance it everything out with the people you're singing with. I have utmost respect for local groups like Tux, The CompanY and Baihana who have made it seem so easy. Even without the use of beat-boxers, these groups still set the standard for effective arrangement and clean harmonies that future Akapela Open contestants can pick up from.
Congratulations to all the winners, participants and organizers of the first Akapaela Open! Looking forward to more in the years to come.
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Even before I joined the Ateneo Chamber Singers in 2008, they were already singing an arrangement of my song by one of its suki arrangers, N.Arnel De Pano. It's a song that the ACS has included in its inspirational repertoire, and more recently, it was made one of the cuts in its latest album titled "Hanggang Langit."
This album was launched last weekend during our 11th Anniversary Concert held at the Church of the Gesu in Ateneo. It's an inspirational album with the following cuts:
1. Dakilang Katapatan (De Pano)
2. Shine (Belamide)
3. Hesus Ng Aking Buhay (Aquino)
4. Take Me Out Of The Dark (Valenciano)
5. How Beautiful (Paris)
6. Hanggang Langit (Navarro)
7. Shepherd Of My Heart (Tunney/Baldwin)
8. Awit Ni David (De Pano)
9. You Lift Me Up (Tan/Simon)
10. Nag-iisang Pag-Ibig Ko (De Pano)
The song "Shine" was my entry to the 1996 Metropop Song Festival (where it won 2nd Prize) but it did not gain popularity until 2004 when Regine Velasquez recorded it for a commercial. So the song has gone from being a love song to becoming a skin whitening product promotions tool, to now becoming more of an inspirational song with its inclusion in this album.
Here is our performance of the song at last weekend's concert. I was the one accompanying the choir on piano, so you won't see me until the very last second of the clip (or make that the last split-second of the clip. LOL!).
For details on purchasing the "Hanggang Langit" album, you can visit its page on the Jesuit Communications website by clicking HERE.
My name is Trina Belamide and I'm a songwriter and record producer.
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Learn more about me on www.trinabelamide.com.