THE musician’s fingers through the ebony and ivory keyboard of the grand piano fluidly sewing notes to create beautiful music, music by Chopin, Lecuona and Albeniz and Copland.
The virtuoso pianist, Jovianney Emmanuel Cruz, displayed what his early musical education and dedication to his craft has taken him. The former child prodigy began his piano studies at age three with his mother, and by age six, he was invited to give a command performance at the Malacañang Palace.
Today, Cruz has gained international awards from across the globe as a concert pianist. He won the top accolade in the Bergen Philharomonic Solo Competition, the Haddonfield Symphony Solo Competition and the Queens Symphony Soloists Competition; and was a prize winner in several competitions including the Concur Internacional Maria Canals in Barcelona in Spain; the Frinna Awerbuch International Piano Competition in New York, the Rina Sala Gallo International Competition in Milan and the International Competition for Piano and Orchestra in Sicily, Italy.
At the ballroom of the Marco Polo Davao, the pianist, who shared the stage with the Agdao Violin Institute’s String Quartet, didn't just play for the audience but for the future of underprivileged children. It was a benefit concert for the Foundation for Development Through Education, Inc. (FDTEI), which was established by the Dominguez family with a vision to uplift the lives of cultural communities in Mindanao through scholarship grants.
FDTEI recently celebrated its 20th year. Since its inception, the foundation has educated 122 underprivileged yet deserving young adults coming from eight provinces in Mindanao. Of these scholars, 101 have graduated by 2017. They enrolled in undergraduate programs in engineering, medicine, nursing, business, accountancy and education, and have found employment after completing their studies.
FDTEI also assisted its graduates in reviewing for qualifying board examinations, and to complement their academic training, the scholars were involved in community projects ranging from health, education and environmental initiatives.
The anniversary fundraising event was a night of beautiful music for a worthwhile cause. And I must commend Marco Polo for an impressive menu.
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THERE are many interpretations, stories, and perceptions about love. It is not surprising because after all, love is one of the oldest concepts in the world. However, as it was, and still is, one of the most talked about thing in this entire cosmos, standards and preconceptions have branched from this concept. Last Tuesday, an advocacy video made us realize how shallow we are in terms of the way we see love in some forms.
Ad Council, a non-profit organization that has released several advocacy ads, has started an uproar with their newest ad entitled “Diversity and Inclusion: Love has no labels”. Less than a week after its release, the video already garnered over 15 million views in Youtube.
In this three-minute video, a large black screen featuring skeletons are seen kissing or dancing, when the people behind the screen emerged, the crowd was shocked to see “unconventional” couples. Same-sex couples, interracial couple, a couple married for decades, representatives of different religions, people with disabilities, and the likes have been the subject of the ad.
After watching the video, I had the realization that in the end, we all look the same way. Underneath all of us are those identical skeletons. Deep inside, we aren’t really different. It made me question why disputes over controversial relationships happen. In the end, we are all human beings capable of love.
All these hate, these stereotypes, and the so-called “moral” standards make all the disputes and the disagreements in every negative way that it can take shape. We all promote make peace not war, and yet we are the ones that are at war with ourselves. We have this definition of love as it was stated in the Bible, the law, and our respective cultures and yet we don’t have a definition of love based on the reality of human experiences.
As said by a male couple with an adopted child in the video, their family isn’t lesser than any others just because of the person they chose to spend their lives with. The choices that we make for love shouldn’t be just bound by all these rules. Sure, we can stick to some of them, but we shouldn’t let our happiness be tarnished by some made up stereotypes that doesn’t really make us less of a person.
I remember the lyrics of Taylor Swift’s song Shake it off, “And the haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate.” There will always be people who will look down in these kinds of relationship, but if you’re waiting for complete acceptance before you let happiness reign over your life, then you’d be dead and yet universal consensus will still not happen.
The way we view people merely because of their race, age, religion, gender preferences, and etc. is not viewing them as people at all. We reduce a complex and unique human being to their mere predicates or to concepts that they are affiliated with.
I think what the ad said was very meaningful and completely relevant to the issues today. The rift between religions in the world, most specifically in our country, promotes not unity but discord. The labels that we associate to people who deviate from the norm creates more bad than good.
I guess I am not alone in believing that love, in its purest and unbiased form, can be one of the greatest things this world could have. We should rethink our biases. Love has no age. Love has no gender. Love has no religion. Love has no disability. Love has no race. Love has no labels. Think about it. (Precious Domalaon)
* Sunday Essays are articles written by students of Ateneo de Davao University for their journalism class.