LOS ANGELES — The Philippines’ national treasure, Sylvia La Torre, leads the first Filipino American Symphony Orchestra (FASO) Excellence in Music and Service Awards recipients who will be honored in a special gala on June 17 at the former Mary Pickford estate in Los Angeles.
La Torre and internationally acclaimed soprano Maria Christina Navarro will be honored for their outstanding accomplishments in music by FASO, the only Filipino symphony orchestra outside of the Philippines, in “A Night of Symphony – Excellence Awards Dinner and Gala.”
Excellence in Service awardees – musician and teacher Cecilia A. Coo-Cruz and accountant and former FASO board member Titus Verzosa – will be recognized for their valuable contributions to the orchestra, whose members come from various professions of the Filipino American community with a variety of musical background experiences.
FASO’s first ever gala promises to be an exciting evening on the beautiful estate of Mary Pickford, the original America’s Sweetheart and a pioneering woman in Hollywood. She co-founded United Artists studio, was one of the original founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and was one of the first women producers in Hollywood. Pickford’s majestic home is now owned by Edwin Raquel, a FASO board member, and his family.
“A Night of Symphony” will raise much-needed funds to sustain FASO, a non-profit organization, and its music education and outreach programs. Throughout the year, FASO conducts workshops, classes and recitals, especially for aspiring young talents in voice and music instruments.
The orchestra, under the baton of conductor and musical director Robert “Bob” Shroder, has been giving acclaimed concerts that highlight Filipino musical works and showcase Filipino American musicians and artists.
To keep the orchestra as a vital nonprofit entity dedicated to presenting the Filipino musical heritage and nurturing young talents, FASO needs to raise funds on a constant basis.
The night’s tribute to the four awardees will spotlight their achievements and generous volunteer service that inspire current and future generations of Filipino Americans.
La Torre, having begun performing at the age of five in 1938 in Manila, will celebrate her 80th year in show business in 2018. She is the first soprano to successfully break through pop culture in the Philippines. In fact, she is the first Filipino artist to enjoy a hugely successful career in all major entertainment fields in the Philippines: radio, television, record, stage and film.
Navarro has given recitals, opera performances and performed with orchestras around the world which were met with thunderous applause and cheers and earned glowing reviews. She has performed with top opera companies and orchestras. She is a former member-soloist of the Philippine Madrigal Singers, UP Filipiniana Dance Group and the Asian Institute for Liturgy and Music. (Inq. U.S.A.)