How 2015 USTV intro’d TV show winners

USTV Orchestra at the 11th USTV Awards 2015 (Grab courtesy of the USTV Awards)

(Grab courtesy of the USTV Awards)

The past USTV Awards often played a recording of the theme music of winning TV shows as they were announced. This 2015 the organizers went a step further and had them performed live–with an orchestra to boot!

For any staff or on-cam talent of these shows, hearing familiar tunes played by a band surely makes receiving the awards extra special. One of them even remarked, “Nakakaiyak naman iyong intro.”

It will end up a little-noticed detail of the 11th USTV Awards, which gave awards of excellence to 4 shows from ABS-CBN and 3 from GMA 7 for winning the student body’s award 5 or more times.

Still, live musical intros are something we have yet to see in local TV awards shows. And this from a school-based award-giving body!

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That epic ABS-CBN News music video (Because journalists also dream of singing stardom)

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

Composite screenshot of ABS-CBN journalists in video cover of I Want It That Way

“Slow news day?” was the query of the pleasantly surprised.

For how in the middle of a plane crash, fleeting low pressure areas, and robberies caught on CCTV did journalists manage to make a potentially viral music video?

Well, it is as easy as facing the camera atop the PC. Or employing an iPad app that can record and edit in shots to a song.

It took a few days last week of shadowing and persuading a cast to join. Yes, a mini-shoot. Post-work and TV shows, of course.

Jenny (Reyes) cut up the song parts to sing, Chiara (Zambrano) “booked” whoever was willing to sing, and Jeff (Canoy) shot with his iPad.

Jeff was the consummate director who was sold-out to his opus.

He even poked all the way to Eastern Samar where Atom Araullo and our team were wondering if we still had any post-earthquake stories left to report.

“You’re missing out on the best video of all time!” Jeff messaged us. Atom and I got on Skype and Jeff showed us the video so far. And he wanted Atom to perform one part via web cam.

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Because He lives

CABATUAN, ISABELA–White lights. Photos. Bouquets. Candles. A cross. A casket.

In the brightly-lit room, a service every night. After each, coffee, candies, nuts, soup, and biscuits. And singing onto the wee hours.

It’s the image of loss, one I did not see in this wake-slash-vacation-slash-reunion with my father’s clan up North.

Sure I saw occasional tears and reflective looks from my aunts and uncles as they gazed at the coffin. Yet with the eulogies interspersed laughter; and with the solemn songs, songs of praise. In the midst of games or stories, we would mention her–even call to her–and smile as we remember.

Our Mamang herself could smile at such a tribute.

Mamang Pilar Bagaoisan

Mamang Pilar Bagaoisan (1930-2009)

I remember her as grandmothers are–mild, quiet, and with a smile that reflected a fount of experience. She doted on the whims of 22 grandkids–usually the play of youngsters and the joking of teenagers. Like her name, she stood as a pillar of faith and silent strength to 11 children and us who followed.

For all I recall, I only regret not knowing her more as a young adult, she being the last living among my grandparents. Growing up abroad, I only saw her once a year. And when I stayed here for good, she moved to the United States to live with my aunt’s family.

She would have made a great interview subject for this journalist-to-be. I could have asked her how they survived during the war, how she dealt with the turbulent 70s, and how my dad was at my age.

Now I can’t remember having played a song especially for her, as I’ve played the night away during the wake. I wish I could have told her my own stories and dreams, as I’m now telling my relatives.
Like my cousin Marvin in the States, I could have even debated with her on which between ABS-CBN and GMA 7 was the better station.

Her children call Mamang’s passing a sacrifice somehow. She and our relations in the US and Saudi Arabia were to come here early this year for the clan reunion. They put off the trip for financial reasons.

Yet she still came back here and all of us reunited here in Cabatuan–something that might not happen again. The reasons, though, were less than jovial.

In one of those nightly singing sessions, our eldest aunt had me play the classic gospel “Because He lives” over and over. Until the singers got the harmonies right, she said.

The song spoke of the hope we had and why we were joyful while we mourned:

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow;
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living just
Because He lives.

With gratitude for her life, we know that because our Savior lives, Mamang still lives.

It tells me too that somewhere in the future, I’d get to have my interview with her.

Hearts and hugs at the Araneta

Screengrabs from people who posted vids on YouTube. Click on them to watch.

I dashed from the station to the far entrance of the stadium.

Good thing the line was nowhere near the queue the last I came to such a night. I snatched my ticket from friends already inside and rushed in.

Aussie church band Planetshakers would perform their first to a less packed crowd at Manila’s Big Dome.

Sitting at upper box B, my mind recalled that other queue in another arena. That was late 2006, my first as a teen, and also the first for Hillsong United, another band from Down Under.

Understandable, since United songs (like “One Way”) have long filled the worship lineups of youth groups here. The Shakers have yet to enter local awareness.

Three years have changed much. I’m now a single, paying professional. Before, this would’ve been a break from class work. Now it’s a reunion.

Catch up conversations about life–and love–gave way as the arena darkened, the stage lights brightened, the band went up, and a roar arose with the beat.

We asked, “Pwede na ba tumayo?” The stadium lost no time, stood and joined the noise.

Thank God, some things don’t change.

* * * * * *

A tip for worship events: When encountering new songs, try to sing along. They’re usually easy to catch on. One might even become your favorite.

The point, after all, is not what songs you know, but who you’re singing them to.

* * * * * *

These “concerts” though attract mostly those familiar, or fanatical.

Yes, avid followers abound even in Christian music. I was once. With one United album in 2003, I liked their alternative sound and bought them all later. Continue reading