It is an instant warmest response from the audience, as Pilita Corrales, in her fully embroidered gown by Fanny Serrano, in her well-composed presence, waves to her adoring fans; meanwhile, the resident conductor, Julian Pellicano together with the 67-member Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, starts the intro of her 1st song, “Free Again/I will Survive, the audience has welcomed Pilita Corrales with all hearts, souls and minds; and her second song, “Dahil Sa Iyo”, an iconic song which is closest to the hearts of the Filipino-Canadians who come to the Centennial Concert Hall to see her, to hear her unfaltering sweet voice, and to watch her iconic singing style, has set up a very special experiential musical journey of the night.
“Dahil Sa Iyo” is the first salvo of Pilita Corrales’ performance to touch the very essence of being a Filipino; and after her command performance, she has received a resounding applause from the audience.And she greets the audience with smile, with a welcoming presence, and with a touch of sense of humour.
“She is still the best singer in the Philippines, so professional and with a great sense of humour.She has never changed. I have heard again, in person, her sweet melodic voice I heard in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. I am so lucky to see her again,” a senior member of OFSAM says with a glow in her eyes. “I did explain to my younger family members who is Pilita Corrales, and now they see her and hear her songs, and now they love her.”
“I will not forget her performance tonight, she is so beautiful, and she has not changed, she is still our very own Pilita Corrales. Glad I did decide to watch her show with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, it is a wonderful experience.” says by another lady.
The night is not the time for the favorite oldies, rather it is a moment of timeless memories of her songs which have become part of musical experience among the Filipinos who were born in an early age; and that night when Pilita Corrales, an artist who has the voice so familiar to the older generation, has crossed many age levels.Her performance with added humour and well-engaged with the audience has become the mood of the night. Her performance has a touch of class, a touch of personal nostalgia for the seniors; and a new musical experience for the younger generations.
As the first Filipino vocalist to perform with the prestigious Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Pilita Corrales does not disappoint her fans. Her many decades of being a song writer, movie and tv personality, a comedian, a compleat singer-artist; and the many awards and citations she received for all her performances in the local and in the international stages, Pilita Corrales is still loved by all, by all ages.
“To hear Pilita Corrales and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra is a very special experience for everyone here tonight. Being the first Filipino singer to perform with this orchestra is a very unforgetable experience,”said by a middle-age lady while having a coffee during the intermission.”No one at this time has equaled Pilita’s voice and professionalism. She is so welcoming, on and off the stage. As if she never get tired, and it does not show her real age. She is great. I am proud of her, and I am prouder as a Filipino now.”
Norie Sayo, Pilita Corrales’ musical director, has also shown a musical dexterity to blend the performance of Pilita especially with some of the musical pieces popular to all the Filipinos; and her piano rendition of the song by the legendary Canadian songwriter, Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” and performed by Pilita Corrales and blended with the sweet young voices of the Highlights Performing Group, the audience get inspired by the religious meaning of the song.
The Highlights Performing Group,under the direction of Ms. Joy Laud Lazo, has added a musical texture especially when Pilita Corrales and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra performed one of the most popular songs “Pipit” into a very folksy rendition.
A popular Visayan song, “Matud Nila” has brought down the concert hall where many of the Visayans are in the audience. Pilita Corrales addresses her kababayans from Visayas region, especially from her hometown, Cebu. Her performance turns into a warm reunion with her kababayans.
Julian Pellicano, the resident conductor, together with the 67-member of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, has enjoyed the warm, the highly professional presence of Pilita Corrales. And this musical teamwork has led to shine each individual talent. The collaboration is unforgetable and will be remembered for a long time. Indeed, the performance of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra with one and only one Pilita Corrales, as vocalist, has given justice to her songs, and to the high expectations of the adoring audience. As one said with a great smile, with a great satisfaction: “Pambihira ang show na ito ni Pilita Corrales. And this is my first time to hear the performance of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. Ang ganda pala.”
For more than two hours, the magic on the stage between the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and Pilita Corrales, with the presence of the Highlight Performing Group, goes on with so much enthusiasm by the adoring fans. The 15 popular songs include Carpenters Medley, My Heart Will Go On, Matud Nila, Pipit, Paul Anka Medley, You Will Be My Music, Besame Mucho, Shirley Bassey Medley, Paano, Hallelujah, If I Never Sing Another Song; and when the multi-award song “Million thanks To You” is sang by Pilita Corrales, she captures the very heart, minds and souls of our kababayans; and with the standing ovation clamoring for more songs, Pilita Corrales is still the undefeated “Asia’s Queen of Songs” and as the reigning queen of songs back home.
Adulation reigns supreme that night at the Centennial Concert Hall.Fans are asking for more songs; the seniors and the young alike gather in front of the stage to kiss her, to shake her hand, to voice out “how great you are, Pilita”, or “Ikaw pa rin ang aming favorite singer..” And as she receives flowers and special gift from the organizers, Pilita Corrales extends her thanks to everyone.
“Thanks, Winnipeg, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Highlights Performing Group, and the Filipino community, for having me with you again tonight. Such a great experience to perform with the symphony and with the young members of the choir; and thanks to all the sponsors, to the volunteers, advertisers, and to all of you; and to the officers and members of the MaCCFA and Linda Cantiveros Foundation, for a wonderful night, for a wonderful moment here in Friendly Manitoba,” Pilita says with a great smile.
Indeed, the night with Pilita Corrales and with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and the Highlights Performing Group, is one of the longest nights to remember. And for the first time, she acknowledges her fans at the meet and greet affair after her command performance; and she shared with them the wonders of her performance. Pilita Corrales gives her time to share the moments in many photo opportunities with her fans. Ah, memories with Pilita Corrales are frozen in time!
Pilita Corrales has indeed performed with professionalism, with elan, and has brought the Philippine music into a higher level of acceptance and appreciation. With her voice enriched by age and time, her presence in Winnipeg is just another breathe of hope; and has become a nurturing experience. A legendary and iconic artist, Pilita Corrales has brought back the glories of our Filipino songs. Indeed, your presence, your songs, your iconic style of singing become relevant at this age and time.
Unforgetable evening, indeed! There is only one Pilita Corrales in the world of music. Bravo!
Photos by Alfred Gaddi , Kelton Lynch, Star Roxas and Ron Cantiveros | Filipino Journal