By: Lou Maningas Cabalona
Nothing fills the air with holiday spirit more than music and laughter in the company of friends and loved ones!
Last January 8, to cap off the holiday celebration (you know Christmas ends on the Feast of Three Kings for Filipinos, right?), and to welcome an even better year than the last, our home was host to a “New Year Jam Party” with the Filipino Musicians of Chicago, Inc., a not-forprofit organization whose purpose is to promote camaraderie among the Filipino musicians, singers and bands and, most importantly, to be proactive towards unforeseen emergency needs of a member, in cases of ailment or death.
Saturday evening festivities officially kicked off with a short word of thanks from President Rudy followed by delicious dinner, buffet style. As expected, from the time guests poured in at six in the evening all the way to whatever time the neighborhood allowed us to make beautiful noise, live jamming was non-stop!
As musicians and singers took turns on stage, familiar tunes from the Beatles classics to Disco and Dancing Queen to Tagalog hits like Awitin Mo at Isasayaw Ko, even Bato Sa Buhangin Bossa Nova style to 80’s classics like Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time and George Michael’s Careless Whisper, got everyone singing along or busting out their moves — or both. New Top 40 hits such as Uptown Funk and Cakes by the Ocean also made the evening’s jam play list, proving that these Pinoy musicians and singers has versatility as timeless as our “forever young” genes.
There was much to celebrate – and celebrate they did — as FMOC closed the year that brought the highly successful “Let’s Band Together” Tribute Concert in honor of three pioneer Chicago-based Filipino musicians – Armando “Chubby” Aguas, Rowell Reyes, and Bert Velarde; as well as the year our dear President was recognized for his Excellence in Music Leadership at the 2016 Chicago Filipino Asian American Hall Of Fame.
Most importantly, it was FMOC’s third year of working together in helping fellow musicians in need and it aims to move forward into 2017 with even bigger and more significant projects for the Filipino American musicians and singers in the Chicagoland area.
Speaking of music, I want to congratulate my good friend, Christine Bunuan for a highly successful run of her holiday-themed cabaret show entitled Christmas at Christine’s at Silk Road Rising. My husband Baron and I got to catch the last show on Dec 23rd.
I loved how Christine intertwined sharing her most memorable Christmases in between performing some of our well-loved Christmas songs both from our home here and our homeland, every now and then encouraging the audience to sing along, too. It made me feel like I was catching up with a close friend or cousin over a holiday karaoke party. Good times!
Also, I am personally inviting everyone to take a peek at SamaSama Project’s Facebook Live show every Tuesday at 9pm CST. The band-tested out “going live” on Facebook one rehearsal before Christmas to play a few Christmas songs and send some holiday greetings to their friends. Due to the tremendous response then and in the weeks after, the band has decided to officially make “Tuesdays with SamaSama Project” a weekly show on the band’s Facebook Page this 2017!
Watch the show, join in the laughs, and enjoy the music at Facebook.com/SamaSamaProject. You can even request songs you would like SamaSama Project to play – every Tuesday night! And, of course, if you like their music, don’t forget to LIKE our page!
Louella Maningas Cabalona is a singer, actor, and Senior Manager for Business Analytics, Sears Holdings. She is the lead singer of the Filipino Folk band, SamaSama Project, COO of Golden Tara Creatives, Inc, an active Board member of the League of Volunteers for Relief Expeditions and the Young Business United and is one of the inaugural delegates of the FYLPRO Immersion program of the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC in 2012. She is passionate about sharing Filipino culture in the modern world and actively supports all outstanding Filipinos around the globe. If you would like to connect, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Officers and Board Members of FMOC – Pres. Rudy Campos, Secretary Patty Soliman, Ed Sawyer, Auditor April Garcia, Louella Cabalona, Treasurer Rogel Arceo, Lottie DeVeyra Topacio, Lani Del Rosario.
Pinoy Musicians jamming at the Cabalona residence (L-R) Rudy Campos, Roland del Rosario, Freddy Alba, Ramon Mendoza, Gerry Lomotan, Rogel Arceo, Ed Sawyer.
Mostly singer and musician friends of the host Louella Cabalona (clockwise, top left), Joe Mauricio, Mike Castillo, Baron Cabalona, Daniel Boyle, Chris and Sue Dziedzic, Al Tom, Abegail Rodriquez, Recy Rodriguez, Veronica Leighton and Eli Azana
Baron and Louella Cabalona with godparents, Veronica Leighton and Joe Mauricio;
Ladies singing Dancing Queen – Rosemarie Tom, Kristine Kam, Recy Rodriquez, Abegail Rodriguez, Alice Arellano.
SamaSama Project 2017 goes FB Live – Ran Sevilla, June Rodriguez, Baron Cabalona, Louella Rose, John Kniker, EJ Luna (Not in picture: Giga Yanong);
With the cast of Christmas at Christine’s with Christine Bunuan (2nd from left), husband and co-actor Sean Patrick Fawcett and Pianist Ryan Brewster.