The Night “CINEMUSICAL” Was Born

Johnny Escandor
Naga City has a reason to be proud of. It may well be that the newest art form in the performing arts is born here : the CineMusical.

The word was coined by Ferdinand Dimadura, Bicol’s celebrated Composer and Film Director. “ I didn’t know what to call my work so I have to invent a new name for it.”

Last September 13, 2010 at the Avenue Convention Plaza, the world had a Preview of what CineMusical was all about.

Simon’s Way, the CineMusical based on the life and times of Simon Vela was previewed before a Strictly by Invitation Only crowd led by no less than Archbishop Leonardo Z. Legazpi.

Although many musicals have used videos to enhance their presentations, CineMusical is the first to fuse Film and Theater cohesively – to tell a story.

As what Dimadura said, “ For a hundred years , Film and Theater were two separate art forms – tonight we unite them as one.”

Films can portray a very intimate story while the theater has a magic that can never be captured on film. Combine them and what you have is a very intimate story done in a very theatrical way.

The CineMusical easily won converts.

Among them, art patron Ricky de la Torre. Said he, “ The wonderful music combined with a tragic love story on film overwhelmed me. I’m not embarrassed to say that I cried during the show. “

Francis Uy, marketing director of Procter and Gamble said, “ CineMusical opens so many possibilities since the musical is no longer confined in the limited space of the theater. With it – you can turn even an epic novel like ‘War and Peace’ into a musical. The possibilities are so exciting.”

Since the show was just a Preview, there were technical lapses which were understandable. The preview brought in many unanswered questions too. To some religious sisters, the story kept them hanging: “ Did Arthur became a priest at the end of the story? Why was there so much emphasis on the love story of Father Simon? The musical should have ended with a grand tribute to Ina.”

Ferdinand agrees, “ We emphasized right from the start of the show that it was just a preview. We didn’t tell the whole story yet. Or presented all the music. That will come in December when Simon’s Way will have its World Premiere.”

Ferdinand admits that there are still major works to be done. “ I only had four days of filming to show for the preview as my time was consumed in finishing the musical score. So what we were able to present was just half the story. This time, we have at least a month to film. I’m also going to compose more music and add a few more characters.”

The World Premiere of Simon’s Way is on December 17 and 18, 2010 at the USI Auditorium.

“We’re bringing back the Manila Symphony Orchestra to play the music as well as most of the cast.”

A project of the Archdiocese of Caceres with the participation of Our Lady of Fatima Association, Simon’s Way was previewed in Honor of Our Lady of Peñafrancia and was dedicated to the 2010 Year of the Priests.

The cast was headed by

Father Fidel Bagayaua who was cast as Father Simon in the film, John Robyn Reyes, upcoming star Franklee Lorenzo who played Simon Vela, Matet Reganit, Tess Consulta Francisco, Ian Baluca and Patrick Peralta.

The music was arranged by John Carl Denina. Orchestrations by Anson Peñaflor. Choral Arrangement by Adrian Argete. Choreography by Randy Salvani and production design by Lance Pesigan. Production Managers were Jho Rosales and Jhatt Ramos. The film was shot at the sprawling compound of the Palacios.

The music was performed by musicians from the Manila Symphony Orchestra, St. Scholastica and Kwerdas de Naga with special performance by Jeline Oliva – Pinoy Got Talent Finalist. Choral music was performed by the internationally acclaimed UNEP Chorale. The dances were performed by ACAT of USI.

The evening brought together many of Naga’s music lovers and art patrons like Mayor John Bongat, himself a Composer, who was with his lovely wife Farah, Mrs. Sonia Roco,

Mrs. Dollie Sison, President of UNC, Sister Siony Evidente, President of USI, Mrs. Delia Tibi, Vice President of UNEP, Mitzi Padua, president of NCF, Lina Paglinawan, owner of Mariane Montessori and Mrs. Teresita Hidalgo, dean of the USI College of Music. Also present at the preview were long time art lover Perfing Palacio and his lovely wife Lorna, Mrs. Baby Semaña, Dr. Dolly Roa Perez with husband Momee, art critic Ricky de la Torre, Procter and Gamble Marketing Director Francis Uy with Presidential friend Rico Mortel , Bigg’s owner Nienie Buenaflor, columnist Dr. Francis Dabu and sportsman Jec Claro.

The religious sector was well represented with the presence of Bishop Manolo, de los Santos Bishop of Virac, Father Andrew Recepcion, Father Aba, Father Jose Cortez, and Father Francis Tordilla plus Sisters from the Daughters of Charity and Daughters of Mary.

The show organizers also thanked their Art Patrons for the evening: Congressman Louie Villafuerte, Dr. Dollie Sison, Atty. Cocoy Uvero and Engr. Miguel Dimadura.

Simon’s Way was supported by the generosity of the following sponsors:

For the venue: Mr. Allan Cu, for the costumes: Ms. Elena Lo, for the food and drinks: Bigg’s, Bob Marlin, Maki Yaki, Chef Doy’s. Atlantic Bakery, Izba, the Park, Mudbugs, Max’s, Pepsi Cola, Early Spring Water Station.

For the hotel accommodations: Naga Land Hotel, Avenue Plaza Hotel and Hotel Mirabella and Aguirangan View Hotel.

For printing: AMS Press and GoldPrint.

For Transportation: Isarog Bus Lines, Peñafrancia Travels and Tours and Philtranco.

For Make Up: Avon ( Iriga Branch )

Most of all, Ferdinand Dimadura was profuse in his thanks to the Archbishop.

“It was his guidance and support that made Simon’s Way possible.”

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