Bohol Rising concert warms Melbourne hearts


Marianne Dayrit-Sison

The Loboc Children’s Choir and Dulaang Kasing Sining performed to a full house last 27 June 2015 at Federation Square’s Deakin Edge.

More than 400 Victorians from as far as Shepparton braved Melbourne’s winter evening to watch the inaugural performance of “Bohol Rising: The Concert Musical”. Combining drama, dance, song and screen, the performance narrated the Boholanos’ experiences before, during and after the 7.2 earthquake in October 2013.

Interspersing drama with a concert, Bohol Rising is a three-act musical written by Marianito Luspo, directed by Lutgardo Luza Labad with musical direction of Alma Fernando Taldo.

The first act opened with a glimpse of Bohol on the morning of 13 October 2013 through the eyes of Canor, fisherman, his daughter Jennelyn, a nurse working in the US, Mayor Roger and Fr Tommy. They showed how everyone went about their daily chores while the children played in the plaza because it was a holiday. To mark the beautiful day that it was, the Choir sang songs of joy: “Salve Regina”. Other songs in the first act included “Look at the world” and local ditties “Inday Pamutos Na” and a Visayan medley..

Seamlessly moving onto Act 2, the audience was brought to the time when the earthquake hit the island at 8.13 that morning. Animated screens showed images of houses crumbling, roads breaking apart, and churches collapsing. Amid the screaming and chaos, the characters narrated how despite their own injuries, they tried to comfort those around them. Then the Choir calms the wounded with their songs, “Ave Maria”, “Sakto na Lord”, “Paraiso” with interpretative dance, Ryan Cayabyab’s “Nais Ko”, “When You Believe” and the crowd stopping ‘The Prayer”.

After a 15-minute intermission, the third act started with the characters narrating how Bohol is starting to rebuild through the help they’ve received from around the world. As they thanked the world and the audience, the Choir belted out their final numbers, which included touching renditions of “Paraiso”. After starting with the inspirational, “You raise me up”, the Choir changed tempo with the upbeat “Go on Board”, “Disney medley”, “Kalesa” and a medley from the “Sister Act”.

A sight to behold
The Choir further tugged at the audience’s heartstrings with their final number “I still call Australia home” drawing a standing ovation and the audience wanting more. It was indeed a sight to behold and a heartwarming occasion for the Filipino and Australian communities.

The Melbourne performance was a project of the Melbourne Organising Committee chaired by RMIT University’s Robbie Guevara with the support of Consul Felix Pintado, Philippine Consulate of Victoria and Fr. Litoy Asis, Filipino Chaplaincy of Victoria. Vice Mayor Puresa Chatto, on behalf of her husband, Bohol Governor Eduardo Chatto, and Tagbilaran Bishop Leonardo Medroso provided the opening remarks. The other members of the Melbourne Organising Committee: Marianne Sison- RMIT; Gigi Kalong- Philippine Tours; Raul Hernandez- Australian Centre for Further Education, and Paul Hopcraft- Leaders for Change.

The Choir’s visit to Melbourne included a magical encounter with the Strathewen community who shared similar experiences of despair and destruction during the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires. And both the Loboc Children’s Choir and the Chocolate Lillies who helped heal their respective communities through music joined together in song .

The concert is produced by the Diocese of Tagbilaran to help with the rehabilitation of churches and schools. The Philippine Consulate of Victoria will continue to receive donations on behalf of the Diocese of Tagbilaran for the rebuilding efforts.

The Choir is also scheduled to perform in Canberra on July 1 and in Sydney on July 3 and 4.

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