Just Some Updates (a.k.a. Why I Haven't Been Updating my Blog)

I can’t believe it’s been a month since I last wrote a blog post! Bad blogger...

Just so you know I’m not merely being a lazy blogger, here’s what I’ve been up to the past weeks.

1. Writing for the Hong Kong Philharmonic orchestra.

The piece I wrote for their Christmas concert features the HKPO with the 70+ piece Hong Kong Philharmonic Children’s Choir. This will be the first time that none of my arranger teammates will be present for an HKPO concert that we have written for. In the past 2 years that we’ve been arranging for HKPO, Gerard Salonga usually conducted the HKPO’s concerts where our arrangements were involved. There was also one concert where JD and I were able to watch them, which was Lee Hom Wang’s Christmas concert last year. HKPO is a bunch of really superb musicians.

2. Writing for Jeremy Monteiro’s big band Christmas special concert at The Esplanade, Singapore.

Jeremy Monteiro is one of the leading jazz artists in Asia. I was very fortunate to have been selected for this project, which features top artists from all over Asia! From the Philippines, we have our own Tots Tolentino and Eddie Sangcap in the saxophone section. Visit this site to view details about the concert, as well as the featured guests. Here’s a current favorite tune of mine, from one of Jeremy Monteiro’s various groups, Asiana. (Tots Tolentino is part of said group)

3. Writing for Lea Salonga Your Songs Concert

This is the concert where Lea is singing all the most requested songs. Since July 2009, requests have been sent, and from those requests, the production team selected the most popular tunes. So this is Lea as you haven’t seen before! FILharmoniKA will be accompanying her, conducted by Gerard Salonga. I’ll be playing second keyboard in this concert as well. FILharmoniKA is currently becoming one of the most in-demand orchestras in the Philippines. I feel I’ve grown a lot during these past years because of their musicianship, and because of the opportunities for me to write for them, and also the guidance/tips from Gerard and the rest of our team of arrangers.

4. Various playing gigs

Flow, the big band/acrobat/musical special of PAGCOR, has been going strong. Last November, I played in ten shows. I’m not actually the main pianist for this show, but Nikko Rivera, a very talented virtuoso.. I’m supposed to be his alternate, but I guess that’s how busy he is, that I get to play in that show a lot! Even though I’m already up to my neck in arranging deadlines, I still try to squeeze in some time to play keyboards. Especially for Flow, since I get a kick out of participating in two worlds (many times, on the same day) - Orchestra in Carmel House studio during the day and Big Band at night. Oh, and not to mention, I get to see my father too - Mel Villena, who leads the 22-piece band. He wrote most of the music for the show.

Aside from this, I was also able to play in some FILharmoniKA shows, and some shows with Lea Salonga. It’s a nice break from writing, and sitting in my computer chair for 10-14 hours in a day. (It’s also the only social life I have at this point, aside from Facebook and the occasional mountain-bike ride with buddies).

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