ASOP Grand Finals 2012 showcases OPM, amazes judges
“I couldn’t believe I just listened to 12 songs of praises tonight and learned that they can be delivered in different genres.” These were the words of veteran Musician and Educator Jim Paredes during A Song of Praise (ASOP) Grand Finals 2012 held at Smart-Araneta Coliseum on Sept. 24, 2012. The APO Hiking Society member is one of the judges of the competition.
Paredes was joined in that night by his fellow judges – the veteran composers, Vehnee Saturno and Mon Del Rosario, with nationalistic performer, Noel Cabangon, inspirational singer, Jamie Rivera, and the current Senate Majority Floor Leader, Vicente “Tito” Sotto III. The senator also served as the chairman of the board of judges in the competition.
“They say OPM (Original Pilipino Music) has been long dead, however it is very much alive here at ASOP,” said Noel Cabangon during his speech as he gave his verdict to one of the entries. Cabangon was referring to the 12 originally written and composed entries that were commented on by chosen judges after they were being presented.
Among the 12 entries, ASOP hailed “Purihin mo ang Dios, Oh Pilipinas” by Anton Estrella and interpreted by Gail Blanco as the Song of the Year and bagged the P500, 000.00 grand prize.
“Purihin Ka, Hanggang sa Kailanman” by Annalyn Altejos and interpreted by Nikki Valdez won First Runner-Up. Valdez was also hailed as Best interpreter.
Second Runner-Up was “Puso Kong Nabuksan” by Domingo Rosco and interpreted by Catherine Loria, while “Reasons to Believe” by Rommel Arguelles and interpreted by Gian Magdangal won Third Runner-Up.
Entry “Pag-ibig ay Dios” by Jaime Enriquez and interpreted by Renz Verano was hailed as People’s Choice. The entry won based on the result of the online voting that was held prior to grand finals.
All 12 entries managed to impress the panel of judges from the composition itself to the delivery of interpreters, yet Estrella’s entry, “Purihin Mo ang Dios, Oh Pilipinas” had made the chairman of the board of judges comment, “I couldn’t believe you’re an amateur, you’re like a pro!” Senator Sotto was in awe.
The winning entry, “Purihin Mo ang Dios, Oh Pilipinas” reflected the characters of the majority of the judges in the panel. Noel Cabangon, Jim Paredes, and Senator Sotto are known for their nationalistic preference in music, and the piece is a package of ethnic-cultural praise song.
Meanwhile, founders of ASOP Music Festival – UNTV CEO Daniel Razon and International Preacher Bro. Eli Soriano of Ang Dating Daan program – had graced the night with their inspirational speeches as they recall the story behind the conception and birth of the musical competition. They emphasized that they are purely aiming to produce quality songs of praises to the Lord.
Senator Sotto commended the founders of ASOP and expressed his support, “I hope this (advocacy) will propagate, and that many of our countrymen may participate in praising our Lord.”
Other performers who interpreted the rest of entries were Kyla, Jeffrey Hidalgo, Faith Cuneta, Gretchen Espina, Marielle Corpuz, Aia De Leon and the crowd favorite, Jason Fernandez.
The musical competition was the first grand finale of ASOP TV as it reached its first anniversary in September. ASOP TV is a weekly contest in UNTV, aired every Sunday from 7:00 – 9:30pm, that picks weekly winners for monthly finals. Monthly finalists are the ones competing for the show’s grand finale. The contest is open to both for amateurs and professional composers.
The initial copies of ASOP Grand Finals 2012 Album was produced and distributed by Universal Records and copies are available for free, courtesy of its founders’ benevolence. As a treat to ASOP followers, a special telecast will be aired over UNTV on Sunday, October 14 at 8:30pm. (Words by Robert Clarita, Jr.; Photos courtesy of Avon Yang, Neil Dizon and Stacey Tee II)