A photo of the Golden State Warriors' good luck charm Nayah Damasen in promotion of the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra's Holiday Pops Concert

FASO presents a “Holiday Pops Concert” on Dec. 9

It will be a special, heartwarming evening when the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra (FASO), the only Filipino symphony orchestra outside of the Philippines, presents a “Holiday Pops Concert” on Saturday, December 9, 6:00 p.m., at the beautiful Arcadia Performing Arts Center.

A photo of ventriloquist Shane Cabellon in promotion of the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra's Holiday Pops Concert
Ventriloquist, Shane Cabellon

FASO, praised for its immensely entertaining, outstanding concerts, will perform beloved, popular American and Filipino Christmas music with an adult choir comprising of members from Holy Family Chorale (Glendale), St. Lorenzo Ruiz Catholic Church Choir (Walnut), St. Jane Frances de Chantal Choir (North Hollywood) and Vox Kapelle Choir (Artesia), and a children’s choir combining members of GOD Faith Choir (Carson), IHMC Children’s Choir (Los Angeles) and Precious Blood Children’s Choir (Los Angeles).

A photo of the Golden State Warriors' good luck charm Nayah Damasen in promotion of the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra's Holiday Pops Concert
The Golden State Warriors’ good luck charm, Nayah Damasen

After auditions, FASO tapped talented Shane Cabellon, Nayah Damasen, Janelle Feraro and Riley Silos as youth guest performers. An exciting lineup of adult guest performers will be announced soon.

“Shane is a 10-year-old ventriloquist who sings very well,” said Louie Ramos, FASO’s vice president and one of the show’s arrangers. “He went through regular FASO auditions and competed against topnotch singers who sing in the usual way, with their mouths open.”



A photo of vocalist Riley Silos in promotion of the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra's Holiday Pops Concert
Vocalist, Riley Silos

Ramos added, “We have always featured kids in our concerts. In our interaction with the children’s parents, we noticed that these dads and moms are talented singers, too. So we will be featuring them in a group number.”

A photo of vocalist Janelle Feraro in promotion of the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra's Holiday Pops Concert
Vocalist, Janelle Feraro

Tickets at $100, $60, $40 and $25 are available through Andy Tecson (323) 467-5096. Tickets are also available here. More information at www.fasofoundation.org. Arcadia Performing Arts Center is located at 188 Campus Drive, Arcadia, CA 91007.

Statement of the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra (FASO)

On June 17, 2017, the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra (FASO) held its first fundraising and awards gala dubbed “A Night of Symphony, Excellence Awards Dinner and Gala, Inspiring and Empowering Musical Artistry” in Los Angeles. Featured as its guest of honor and keynote speaker was The Honorable Leonor G. Robredo, Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines.

FASO’s primary purpose in holding the awards dinner and gala was to recognize Filipino Americans who have exhibited excellence in the musical arts and provided generous volunteer service to the orchestra and to raise funds for its projects. These outreach programs include music workshops for the young Filipino Americans and subsidizing public concerts featuring classical music and traditional and contemporary Philippine music.

FASO is preparing for its tenth year anniversary in 2018 and some of the funds raised are earmarked for projects slated for the 2018 season.

Regrettably, a certain blogger based in Los Angeles, known by her media name as Binibining Maharlika or plain Maharlika, sought to politicize the FASO event by publicly falsely accusing FASO of secretly raising funds for Vice President Robredo. Maharlika is an avowed and vocal supporter of Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., who has waged a legal challenge for the position of Vice President of the Philippines.

In her social media accounts, Maharlika published the statement that FASO was secretly fundraising for Vice President Robredo and posted video material and photos of the event, including photos of the Board of Directors of FASO and the guests of the gala event. Maharlika also published a written commentary of the same content. The language she utilized was vile and offensive.

On the day of the event, Maharlika and a dozen or so supporters gathered at the venue location and repeated the false statements that FASO was secretly fundraising for Vice President Robredo and accosted guests who were en route to the event. Their group prominently featured a massive pro-Marcos banner.

FASO, as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit corporation, is prohibited by U.S. tax laws from contributing to any political parties, personalities, and their political purposes. FASO strictly complies with all laws applicable to it. Statements made by Maharlika and her supporters alleging FASO raised funds or financially contributed to any politician, including Vice President Robredo, are false and damaging to FASO, its reputation and the reputation of its Board of Directors and members.

These statements created the false impression that FASO has violated the terms and conditions of its non-profit status. FASO believes these statements of Maharlika and her supporters are defamatory in nature.

One of the participants at the protest rally organized by Maharlika was one Fernandico Gonong, Jr., who is the current president of the non-profit corporation known as the Filipino American Communities of Los Angeles (FACLA). Mr. Gonong was interviewed at the rally and he fully endorsed Maharlika’s false statements and questioned FASO’s invitation of Vice President Robredo in its event. Mr. Gonong also posted, on his Facebook wall, the YouTube clips of Maharlika which featured her defamatory statements about FASO.

Ironically, a few days after the FASO fundraising gala, Mr. Gonong invited a Philippine political figure. He welcomed Philippine Senator Nancy Binay at a formal FACLA event in Los Angeles.

FASO takes these false allegations seriously and has properly sought the assistance and advice of counsel in this regard. FASO protects and promotes the interests of its members as well as the Filipino American community it has lovingly served for nine years. FASO shall advisedly, prudently, and soberly consider the proper course of action at the present time. It reserves for itself all rights and remedies accorded to it under the law.

For any inquiries, please contact FASO legal counsel, Claire N. Espina, Edelberg & Espina, APLC, (818) 708-7791 or reception@edelbergandespina.com.

FASO Gala 2017

As you all may have heard, FASO’s first annual gala is happening on June 17 at the Raquel Residence, aka the former Mary Pickford Estate! We’d like to share the star-studded history of this famous L.A. home here. For more details on our gala, click here!

The Mary Pickford State in "The Artist"
Training Teacher Edith W. Swarts (left) and Helen Matthewson Laughlin in 1924
Training Teacher Edith W. Swarts (left) and Helen Matthewson Laughlin in 1924

The home has been featured in many popular TV shows, including “Scandal,” “NCIS” and “Nip Tuck.” It can also be seen in blockbuster movies such as “Rocky,” “Taken” and “The Artist,” winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2012. The house has a philanthropic history: after it was designated the 2003 Design House (which raised $750,000 for charity), it was the venue for several fundraisers, including “Dining with the Chefs for the Ayala Foundation” and most recently “Hope After Haiyan,” which aided Typhoon Haiyan victims in the Philippines.

Architect W.C. Pennell designed the house in 1917 for UCLA Dean of Women Helen Matthewson. The home is a good example of Beaux-Arts residential architecture, which includes a recessed center section flanked by protruding wings. Beaux-Arts, which originated from the neoclassical architectural style taught at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, profoundly impacted American architecture.

For Beaux-Arts, think The Louvre.
For Beaux-Arts, think The Louvre.

The focal point at the center block is the one-story colonnade at the entrance, which features fluted columns and pilasters with stylized ionic capitals. The over-sized projecting cornice and plain parapet are reminiscent of  Vienna Secession architecture, which appeared in California around the time that the house was built. In 1918, Mary Pickford, “America’s Sweetheart” and the highest paid actor at the time, rented the house. In 1919, Pickford left Fremont Place when she married Douglas Fairbanks and moved to Pickfair in Beverly Hills. The home was thereafter rented to Mary Miles Minter, a top child star who was paid $1.3 million per year.

For an idea of what Vienna Secession architecture looks like, take a look at the Secession Building, which was built as a manifesto for the art movement.
For an idea of what Vienna Secession architecture looks like, take a look at the Secession Building, which was built as a manifesto for the art movement.
Mary Pickford, 1916
Mary Pickford, 1916

Helen Matthewson sold the house in 1920 to Robert and Lula Henderson, wealthy Oklahoma oil operators. The house would change hands many more times. The house underwent upgrades in the 1970’s under the ownership of Ragnar Qvale, architect of the Wilshire Country Club. The current owners completely restored the house in 2000, adding 5,000 square feet to the original 8,240 for their family. The home was presented the Historic Landmark Medallion #11 by the Windsor Square Hancock Park Historical Society, and it’s included in many books on significant architecture in Los Angeles, usually called the Pickford Home.

Artist Spotlight: Deedee Magno Hall

“Swing the Night Away” is less than a week away, so we’d like you to get to know a few of our artists before then! First up is vocalist and actor Deedee Magno Hall! Remember to watch her perform this Saturday, March 18 at the Glendale Hilton. Cocktails at 6:00 p.m. and Dinner at 7:00 p.m.! Get your tickets here.

1. Born in Portsmouth, Va. and raised in San Diego, Deedee grew up in a family that loves to sing and dance. Her father, a Chief in the US Navy, taught himself how to play guitar and piano. There was always music playing, on the radio, in the house and in the car! Ironically enough, when she was little, Deedee wanted to become a dentist despite her musical upbringing!

Deedee on The Party’s Debut Album

2. In 1989, Deedee was an original cast member on Disney Channel‘s “All New Mickey Mouse Club” (MMC), which was taped for a live studio audience at MGM Studios (currently Hollywood Studios) in Orlando, Fla. As she reminisces on those days, she thanks her loving and supportive family for moving across country with her. She also recalls that she was grateful to do what she loves—acting, singing and dancing—as a job at the time, but remained oblivious to the lack of Asian representation on TV at the time. Here at FASO, we’re certain that Deedee’s presence on MMC inspired young Asians and Asian-Americans to claim space on TV and beyond.

3. After the MMC, Deedee was one of five Mouseketeers chosen to join a Pop group called The Party, one of the first artists on Disney’s label Hollywood Records. The Party recorded four albums and toured the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia, and opened for Vanilla IceTaylor Dayne and Color Me Badd. When Deedee reached high school, she asked fellow MMC alum and NSYNC member JC Chasez to her senior prom. He said yes!

4. More recently, Deedee has found great success in TV, film and on stage! She’s played Kim in Miss Saigon on Broadway, and on the musical’s Asian Tour and its second U.S. National Tour. Deedee has also appeared in “Wicked” as Nessarose on its first US National Tour and in “If/Then” on Broadway and on its U.S. National Tour. In Los Angeles, Deedee was Mrs. Walker in East West Player’s producton of “The Who’s Tommy” and is co-founder of the mommy singing group, Mama Bares.


5. Deedee voices the perfectionist Gem warrior Pearl on the acclaimed TV show “Steven Universe” on Cartoon Network!! Deedee won “Best Female Lead Vocal Performance in a Television Series – Comedy/Musical” at the 2014 Behind the Voice Actor Awards for her performance as Pearl. “Steven Universe” has quite a few beautiful musical numbers and Deedee lends her amazing vocals to them. Here’s an example! In this clip, Deedee (as Pearl) trains her young ally in the way of the sword.


FASO Goes Pops!’ on Nov. 14

“FASO Goes Pops!” on November 14 continues the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra’s tradition of presenting quality, entertaining concerts. FASO, returning to the iconic Alex Theatre in Glendale where it earned cheers and praises for its very successful “FASO Goes Broadway” last April, tackles pop music this time.

“If the audience enjoyed ‘FASO Goes Broadway,’ this one will bring them to another level of fun and excitement,” promised Robert “Bob” Shroder, the musical director and conductor of the only Filipino symphony orchestra outside of the Philippines. “We auditioned a set of incredibly talented young singers to join FASO for this concert. You will be amazed to see young Pinoy kids perform covers of Michael Jackson and Bruno Mars and some of our favorite OPM (Original Pilipino Music) numbers.”

“We are very excited about this show because it is the first time that we are featuring pop music – both mainstream and OPM,” added Luis “Louie” Ramos, FASO board vice president and arranger-in-residence. “We will be honoring iconic OPM composers in the show.”

Shroder shared what’s in store for the audience: “We are opening the concert with an old school William Tell overture by Rossini. Then, we’ll kick it right off with mainstream pop music of the 1970s and 1980s. Wear your jersey shirts and blouses, bell bottom pants and platform shoes to dance to 70s tunes like those of the TSOP.”

The acclaimed maestro stressed, “Of course, our sentimental OPM love songs, as performed by our talented featured singers, will also highlight the evening. We will also honor several Filipino composers, most of whom will be present at the concert.”

Ramos said, “We are also featuring songs by these renowned Filipino composers who are based in the U.S. – ‘Lift Up Your Hands’ by Cecile Azarcon; ‘Tayo ay Pilipino’ and ‘Hanggang Huli’y Ikaw,’ SJ Gandia; ‘Let It Go,’ Robert Lopez; ‘Give Me a Chance’ and ‘Till I Met You,’ Odette Quesada; ‘Minsan Lang Kitang Iibigin,’ Aaron Paul del Rosario; ‘Tatak ng Pilipino’ and ‘Ikaw Lamang,’ Dodjie Simon.”

The night’s featured performers will be announced soon.

In keeping with its much-admired commitment and tradition to spotlight deserving talents, FASO is excited to present the guest vocalists in the coming show.

Ramos announced, “After holding three rounds of auditions, we selected these performers, some of whom are as young as 8 years old: Bryce Gomez; Ian Chen, who plays Evan Huang in ABC’s ‘Fresh off the Boat’; Jokai Dawson, who will be performing ‘Billie Jean’; Sydney Haik; Gian Paolo Jimenez; Michael Keith Pronda; Mikaela Bautista; Therese Masangcay; Denise Gonzales; Gabrielle Current, 2015 Rose Parade princess; Shelby Miguel; and Daryl Ogalino, ABS-CBN’s ‘TFCkat USA’ Grand Singing Champion 2012 and ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ Grand Singing Champion 2008. These talents will be joining Dennis Jardiel, Erwin Andaya, Mike Zuniga, Nilo Alcala and Sharon Rose Orosco as our guest vocalists.”

“Shelby Miguel is a cancer survivor who battled Burkitt’s Lymphoma at the age of 4,” Ramos added. “According to Shelby, ‘Singing healed me once, and now I sing to help others.”

Around 55 orchestra members will perform under the baton of Shroder. He said, “Our trumpet section will hit the center stage to perform Leroy Anderson’s ‘Bugler’s Holiday.’ ”

Ramos will also arrange pieces for the show along with Saunder Choi, Melvin Corpin, Vince Reyes and Naldy Rodriguez.

“FASO Goes Pops!” is sponsored by Island Pacific Supermarket, SMART World Mobile and ishkaster Media. The show is for the benefit of FASO, a non-profit organization, to sustain the orchestra as it continues to serve the community with performances, like the one they will experience in November, and its youth programs, which include the summer music camp.

Tickets to the show on Nov. 14, 7:00 p.m., are now available online: http://www.alextheatre.org/event/faso-presents-faso-goes-pops.


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