LCSMC Stringed Instrument Ensemble Live @ “A Hundredfold for the Lord Music Festival” 03/08/2014

LCSMC Stringed Instrument Ensemble 03-08-2014
Yours truly on classical guitar, first guitarist from the left

Last Saturday’s “A Hundredfold for the Lord Music Festival” at UCCP-Ellinwood Malate Church was absolutely wonderful! I played as a lead guitar player for the group I now dub as the LCSMC Stringed Instrument Ensemble. All instrumentalists, solo singers, choirs, and support staff gave their all for the Lord. For the many people who have missed it, here’s the LCSMC Stringed Instrument Ensemble’s short set:

1. “Introduction” (Improvisation by LCSMC Stringed Instrument Ensemble)
2. “Rock of My Salvation (Music by Teresa Muller, instrumental arrangement by Joel Gervacio)
3. “Salamat Musika” (Music by Gary Granada, instrumental arrangement by LCSMC Stringed Instrument Ensemble)

Some of the things that I hope to have done in the concert include play one of my original compositions on solo piano and perform some piano as well for the ensemble (although this would equate to completely missing the point/concept of the ensemble). Anyway, there were at least six pianists around during the concert, and so it would have been redundant had I been plucked out to play some piano (plus there were much superior pianists around like Rev. Leo Rempola and Rey del Rosario).

I had initially planned to record the entire concert straight from UCCP-Ellinwood’s Main Sanctuary audio board. Unfortunately, technical limitations only allowed me to record the set where I played in. What sort of technical limitation was that? The sound guy only hand one RCA cable which he had to use to hook up mp3 players for first musical offering acts (Christian Pop). Since the group I played with was part of the second musical offering, I could only ask the sound guy to record my group’s set.

However wonderful the concert was, here’s are two items that I think could have made the concert a lot better:

1. Improved promotion. Search the Internet for this particular event and my blog shows up as the top result. LCSMC doesn’t seem to be keen on promoting their concerts except using limited exposure via Facebook. I’m not sure if this was done, but perhaps they could have also advertised the concert at 98.7 DZFE, NCCP, etc. You get the drift. I do think that the LCSMC should promote such events to a wider audience rather than to just member churches.

2. An LCSMC House Band. I am very much peeved by the preferences for backing tracks (what we call in the Philippines as “minus ones”) over live musicians by the majority of the pop singers (no offense, okay?) that performed in the concert. Such music could have been performed to a professional standard by a group of musicians available within the LCSMC. I do think that LCSMC has an abundance of instrumentalists that could have been commissioned to become a sort of house band that would play all sorts of Christian music ranging from contemporary to even classical.

Anyway, the most important thing about this concert was it was done as an expression of worship to the Lord through music. It is my sincere prayer that those who have witnessed the performance be blessed.

Prog/Dream Theater Fan Humor with PSMS and Devin Townsend @ Sea

I’m a Dream Theater fan. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I’m also not ashamed to admit that I like every Dream Theater album, and that includes the much reviled “Falling Into Infinity”. This is the band that got me into prog in the first place. Though largely known for extremely lengthy complex prog metal masterpieces like “Scenes From a Memory”, they do have good short tunes too, like this one:

This, my readers, is “Burning My Soul”, a rather serious hate/rant song with lyrics by Mike Portnoy. It was originally a lengthy song with a slower tempo instrumental section (which became, through executive meddling and producer manipulation, a separate instrumental called “Hell’s Kitchen”). Anyway, enough of that history. It’s a pretty serious sounding song, right? The video above demonstrates a fragment of Dream Theater’s impeccable musicianship skills. However, my new favorite version of this song is this bootleg video from “Progressive Nation at Sea 2014”, performed by ex-DT members Mike Portnoy and Derek Sherinian (Keys) with Tony MacAlpine (Guitar), Billy Sheehan (Bass). and Devin Townsend on vocals and stand-up comedy antics:

One comment posted said that this is a train wreck done in style. I’d say in great humourous style. It’s as if Frank Zappa came to life with Devin Townsend’s vocal cords. If you’re a musician and a fan of Dream Theater and Devin Townsend, I would bet that you will find this to be funny. If you’re not enjoying and laughing at this then I feel very sorry for you.

Palawan Trip – Day 03 (Morning) – 03/01/2014

Saturday morning marks the last day of our Palawan trip. I just woke up with the sniffles (which I hope to be just the early morning one that fades as the day goes by) but it’s a good morning nevertheless. I hope that I would not have this feeling by the time we board the plane because it’s going to feel like crap if I do.

In a few hours after breakfast, we’ll be leaving El Nido on another 7-hour ride to Puerto Princesa. Time to eat and get ready.

Palawan Trip – Day 02 (evening) – Dinner at “Seaslug Bar and Grill” – 02/28/2014

And so I finally came back from dinner. We took a tricycle going from La Casa Teresa to the town square. We asked the driver where would be the best place to eat, and he recommended eating at Seaslug Bar & Grill. Upon arriving, I realized that we saw the place earlier this morning. It was the place that featured live musicians performing. Unfortunately, there weren’t any of them performing tonight. Oh well, we didn’t really go there just to watch some musicians play top 40 hits (like many of those who play around Manila). We were there to eat. Now, if you’re one of the few readers of this blog who happen to be vegan, now is the time to quit your browser and go read something else.

We ordered a big bowl of “sinigang na hipon” (prawns and assorted vegetables cooked in a thin tamarind broth). In addition to that, my son ordered some spicy chicken wings, my wife had grilled pork, and I decided to be adventurous (again) by ordering sizzling croc. When I received my order, it was crocodile meat cooked as sisig (a famous Filipino dish popular in many local watering holes) atop an iron plate with raw egg and chilies. I mixed them all up with some Knorr seasoning, hot sauce, and calamansi juice. Now, how did it taste like? Just like chicken, nothing so unique or remarkable. Matter of fact is that I could probably be tricked into thinking it was chicken simply because my taste buds dictate it to be so. You can disagree with me if you like; perhaps you have more discerning taste buds than what I’ve got. The only difference is that if it were alive, it would not have any qualms about trying to eat me instead.

Dinner was delightful. I ate until I was full, leaving me very satisfied with a smile on my face. It’s a very good and blessed day overall. I hope tomorrow will be good as well as we begin to make our trip back home.