Charles Stella wins Grand Champion prize in Kantahan

Community News & Features Mar 1, 2005 at 4:32 pm

By Ardie Ching

Nay, it is not only one talent but six that was witnessed by the Filipino and non-Filipino audience who attended the recently concluded “Rogers Wireless Kantahan Search 2004. Those who watched the grand finals of the said event was treated to a night of good music and was mesmerized by the production numbers performed by the six grand finalists as well as the special guests. Of course, as in any competition, only one winner brings home the bacon, so to speak. And that night’s event was the night of Charles Stella who emerged as the Grand Champion.

Despite the inclement weather, parents, relatives, friends, and supporters of the six grand finalists stormed the auditorium of the Ontario Research Center at Scarborough to cheer and lend their support to their candidate. Just as the audience are all anxious to find out who will be proclaimed as the Grand Champion, the six grand finalists at the backstage were all excited and nervous while preparing for the start of the show.

For brief backgrounder, the search was launched September 2004. After six continues week of grueling eliminations that ended last December 24, 2004, the Magic 6 were chosen representing the adult and teen category. The Magic 6 were Kristine Cristobal, Michelle Bataclan and Candice Santos for the teen category; Theodore Marasigan, Charisse Galang and Charleston Stella.

The show was written and staged by Mr. Rei Ching, a stage director from the Philippines, his Toronto directorial debut. It opened up to a grand production number featuring the six finalists as they sang individually a medley of tagalog songs which includes “Isang Mundo Isang Awit,” “Nais Ko,” “Paraiso,” “Tuwing Umuulan,” “Ikaw Ang Lahat Sa Akin,” “Tagumpay Nating Lahat,” and was capped by the song “Kay Ganda Ng Ating Musika” beautifully arranged by the event’s musical directors, Messrs. Bong Aviola and Greg Canceran. Hosting the show for that night was the Radyo Pinoy personality, Mr. Deo Moreno, who had brought the house down with his wit and charm. Despite the last minute call to host the said event, he had professionally handled the show by wowing the audience with his sense of humor and his ability to make the finalists feel confident during the entire show. For the directorial services of Mr. Rei Ching, you can contact him at 416-8295479 or 905-2728123.

During the competition segment of the show, each of the finalists had rendered two songs that consist of a song of their own choice and an OPM (Original Pilipino Music). Among the OPM songs performed by the finalists were “Magsimula Ka,” “Malaya Ka Na,” “Dakilang Lahi,” “Forever Is Not Enough,” “Salamat, Salamat Musika,” and “Pangarap na Bituin.” The Filipino audience as well as the non-Filipinos watching the show that night was awed by the performance delivered by all the finalists as they proudly sang all the songs.

Not to be outshone that night were the performance of the special guest, the award-winning and world-renowned singing group from Davao City, The Himig Singers. They performed a medley of songs from ABBA, their much-applauded acapella of Ryan Cayabyab’s avant-garde “Katakataka” and they ended their performance with a nationalistic song that reverberated to the sense of the Filipino audience, “Dugong Pilipino.” Their performance was applauded with enthusiasm and the audience made sure that the group did not leave the center stage without an encore song.

The panel of judges was composed of the pillars of the Himig Singers, namely, Mr. Bong Aviola, musical director and a popular voice coach at the Ryan Cayabyab School of Music (Manila); Mr. Greg Canceran, piano accompanist and arranger; and Ms. Alma Orosio, alto and a most sought-after voice lesson teacher in Davao City.

Also in attendance enjoying the superb presentation of the contest-cum-mini concert who also assisted in the awarding of prizes were Ms. Susan Gordon, Senior Director for Marketing, Rogers Wireless; Ms. Madonna Lee, Marketing Manager for Ethnic Community, Rogers Wireless; Mr. Rick Wong, President of Fortune Advertising; Mr. Yakoob Sayeed, Vice President of Fortune Advertising; Mr. Manolo Mauricio of VicMar Entertainment and Roland O. Bertumen of B&B Promotions.

It was a very tight race for all the finalists. All of them delivered a powerful performance that the audience would not notice that they are watching a competition had it not for the prizes that had been given away. Charles Stella and Kristine Cristobal were proclaimed the first runner-up in their respective category. In the end, the Grand Champion award was romped away by Charles Stella while Kristine Cristobal remains the Champion for the Teen Category. Another teen finalist, Candice Santos, won a special award, Audience Choice Award. The show ended with the Grand Champion, Charles Stella, singing one of his pieces, “Dakilang Lahi.”