When I found out three weeks ago that I would get to sing two songs with the authentic rock star, Arnel Pineda, for his upcoming Rock n Roll concert for our village, here were the things I did:
- PRAYER Pray to see God’s perspective on why He opened this door.
- SONGS Find out what the songs will be.
- VOICE Vocalize as often as I can remember to and learn the songs.
- ATTIRE Prepare an outfit.
- PRAYERS: As the days went by, the Lord impressed on my heart that either I could bless Arnel and his wife by prayer or if He opened an opportunity to get a message of faith encouragement from Arnel that could bless people who are in difficult circumstances, I should be ready to do the interview.
- SONGS: Our village president, Caress Banson, sent me the repertoire. From the list, I thought I could learn “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” and “Clocks” by Coldplay. I looked up the songs and started familiarizing myself with the melody and lyrics in between work and travel schedule. I found a duet of Arnel with Sarah Geronimo so I sang along with this video as my guide.
3. VOICE: I’m an amateur’s amateur (albeit a lucky one) Soprano more often singing Broadway, kundiman, and opera so I asked my former choir teacher, Jeanne Velasco Vicars, to coach me on how to sing rock style tenor. Just to cover all bases, I also asked Darleen Yu of Soundlife to prepare my voice. Because of their upcoming recital on the same day as the concert, she assigned Teacher Roxy to me. I had such fun with my teachers!
4. ATTIRE: I realized that I don’t have any Rock n Roll costume to wear. My usual style is feminine, tailored. The moving lyrics of “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” reminded me of the ministry of Caress: Feeding Metro Manila, a non-profit organization that addresses hunger issues in the Philippines from Typhoon Yolanda days to the more regular feeding of children in Tondo.
But say a prayer, Pray for the other ones
At Christmas time it’s hard, but when you’re having fun
There’s a world outside your window
And it’s a world of dread and fear
Where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears
And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom
Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you
And there won’t be snow in Africa this Christmas time
The greatest gift they’ll get this year is life
Where nothing ever grows, no rain nor rivers flow
Do they know it’s Christmas time at all?
To walk the talk, God impressed on my heart that it’s better to use the budget that would have been for a costume to support the ministry.
From my closet, I pulled up the best thing I could come up with that looks like Rock (with that faux leather waistband trim). I showed Teacher Darleen my choice of attire.
She said it needs something to match the context of the event.
Well, yeah, it’s not very Rock n Roll and it doesn’t look like it’s for stage. I might look like Arnel’s Yaya.
I prayed about this again. Still, don’t buy new. I googled “Rock n Roll Attire.” The common details were metal, sparkles, black, leather. I came across an article that said ideally for stage, attire should be non-black since stages, curtains, are most often black and you might look like a floating head. But I’m still not allowed to wear red or other super lively colors because we are still in mourning until April next year. I wanted to honor my father-in-law in Chinese custom this way. These are the ideas I got:
DIY HOW TO TRANSFORM A REGULAR OUTFIT TO ROCK N ROLL:
- Get grey glass beads at Carolina’s. They are Php60 per 24-piece pack. (I got D25 15mm#26)
- To estimate how many packs of beads to get, measure the length from the top of waist to hemline x 2. Line up one pack of beads on top of Carolina’s glass case and measure length coverage per pack. Divide the needed hemline coverage length by the coverage length of beads per pack. Get extra beads in case.
- To accessorize boots, get 1 meter grey chain (also at Carolina’s). Measure length around ankle (Make sure your foot will easily fit through). Stick a folded up paper through the chain link that needs to be cut to mark the spot. Measure a second longer chain to go under the first chain. With pliers, cut the marked chain links. Tie with a leftover black ribbon.
I got two belts from Forever 21 (Php735 each). The second chain belt is to hold the first belt in place since it doesn’t have a strap holder at the end. Since the top looked so serious, I looked in my stuff for a sparkly accessory and found an old music-themed pin.
PRAYERS: Two days before the event, Caress tasked me to do the introduction of Arnel during the program so I started researching about him online. I got to know his story more and that gave me ideas on what I could ask him if God opened up an opportunity for me to interview him. On D-Day, yes it happened! HERE is the post which includes his faith encouragement message.
SONGS: On D-Day, the band set up at 3pm and by 4pm, we rehearsed. The band played “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” on a lower key. Arnel indicated that the arrangement is all unison; he probably doesn’t remember anymore the 4-year old duet he made with Sarah G (haha!!) so the lines that I memorized are not exactly the same as what we’re going to sing today (oops!) and it’s now on a lower range (yikes!). Clocks’ accompaniment is so stunning. I felt like it should really be done solo… unadulterated Arnel. When I told him, he asked me to pick another song. I chose “Imagine.” We just ran through it a cappella. Prior to the program, I passed by the table of Christopher Yu, my neighbor with whom I performed a Broadway song many years before. I asked if he would be willing to sing! He said that from the repertoire, “Imagine” is the one he most probably could sing. I told Arnel and immediately he said, “Yes, let’s do it together!”
VOICE By performance time, I couldn’t hear myself well so I had some wandering notes (eeps!) and with the lower key, sound like sumasayad na tambucho (sagging muffler) (hahaha) but very much enjoyed the process, very grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime chance!
Duet: Do They Know It’s Christmas Time At All?
Trio: Arnel Pineda, Christopher Yu, and me: “Imagine”
ATTIRE: Here’s me with my loving and lovely niece, Trish, who took the music videos! Thank you so much, Trish!! 🙂 And for finding my missing shoe under the table. I had to change back to flats from the killer tiis-ganda (beauty-agony) heels.
Thanks to Caress Banson and Mrs. Jocelyn Sotto for making this happen.