Night of Symphony

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.

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

Sylvia La Torre leads first FASO Excellence Awardees

by Hydee Abrahan

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.

Maria Christina Navarro

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 non-profit entity dedicated to presenting the Filipino musical heritage and nurturing young talents, FASO needs to raise funds on a constant basis.

CeciliaCooCruz1

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.

Cecilia A. Coo-Cruz is a seasoned violinist who has played for various orchestras, chamber groups and alternative bands and has collaborated on various recordings. She has been an integral part of FASO since its inception in 2008. In addition to playing with FASO, Coo-Cruz devotes countless hours to assist the orchestra in various volunteer capacities.

Titus M. Verzosa is a Certified Public Accountant, presently working as a senior tax manager at DeMera Cameron, LLP, an accounting firm in Fresno, California. With his love for music, Verzosa volunteered his tax and accounting services in forming FASO as a non-profit organization. When FASO was incorporated in 2013, he was invited to sit on the Board of Directors and to assume the position of the Treasurer. He served on the FASO Board until 2015.

Titus Verzosa

FASO will serenade guests as they savor Pinoy cuisine prepared by chefs Clinton Nuyda and Nanette Sicat.

In addition, guests will have the opportunity to bid and win unique live and silent auction items, including a week’s stay at an apartment on Champs-Élysées in Paris; a stay at the Handumanan estate in Kalibo, Aklan, with complimentary river cruise and sightseeing to coincide with the popular Ati-Atihan Festival, and a stay in world-famous Boracay; and a chance to conduct FASO, no less.

Another treat will be the Rigodon de Honor, the traditional Filipino dance by couples.

The exciting gala is sponsored by Bank of Hope, Pacific Western Bank, Silver Saddle Ranch & Club, F&W Foodservices and Supplies, Kanstul Musical Instruments, Philip Stein Global Filipino Watch, Image Spa, Island Pacific Seafood Market, Ishkaster Media, Events by Sandy, LBC, Perfect Energy, G.K. Skaggs, Leelin Bakery & Café, Nautilus Brand, Ramar Foods International, San Antonio Bakery, Unistar Foods, Inc., Partyworks, Etc. and Print Hub USA.

For inquiries, contact FASO board members Rocio Nuyda, the gala’s chairperson (818-602-3214, rocio@msn.com), or Jose Luis Garcia (310-936-2988, jl.garcia@aol.com). More details are also available at www.fasogala.org.

FASO to hold its first gala benefit at Hollywood legend’s estate

The Filipino American Symphony Orchestra (FASO), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting Filipino music and artists, and the only Filipino symphony orchestra outside of the Philippines, will hold “A Night of Symphony,” its first ever gala benefit dinner. This gala will take place on June 17 at the majestic estate of Hollywood legend Mary Pickford in Hancock Park, Los Angeles.
Edwin Raquel, one of FASO’s board members, and his family will graciously open their home for this event, which will raise funds to sustain FASO’s concerts and music education programs.
The special evening will honor FASO’s first Excellence in Music awardees and distinguished contributors to the pioneering orchestra’s mission and objectives. The names of the honorees will be announced soon.
 
This will be a unique chance to be on the sprawling grounds of the former home of iconic silent film actor and producer Mary Pickford, and a prime filming location for movies like the 2011 Oscar Best Picture “The Artist” and “Rocky IV.”
Filipino chefs making Pinoy cuisine a worldwide sensation will prepare a sumptuous dinner.
 
Guests will be serenaded by FASO under the baton of musical director and conductor Robert “Bob” Shroder. Select performers and Music in Excellence awardees will also entertain the guests.
 
In addition, guests will have the opportunity to bid on unique auction items, including a week’s stay at an apartment on Champs-Élysées in Paris; a round-trip ticket to Manila via Philippine Airlines plus a trip to Coron, Palawan; a stay at the Handumanan estate in Kalibo, Aklan, with complimentary river cruise and sightseeing to coincide with the popular Ati-Atihan Festival, and a stay at Boracay; and a chance to conduct FASO, no less.
 
Another highlight will be the Rigodon de Honor, the traditional Filipino dance by couples.
 
The exciting gala, sponsored by Bank of Hope, Pacific Western Bank, Silver Saddle Ranch & Club, LBC, Omni Hotel, Kanstul Instruments, Philip Stein watch, and the Philippine Department of Tourism, will feature two parts. There will be a meet and greet for a limited number of guests, starting at 4:00 p.m. with the guest of honor, awardees and other distinguished guests.
 
The second part will be the main event – awards program and dinner – which will begin at 5:30 p.m.
This Gala event is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. This event is also supported in part by a generous grant from the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and the California Arts Council.
 
For inquiries, contact FASO board members Rocio Nuyda, the gala’s chairperson (818-602-3214, rocio@msn.com) or Jose Luis Garcia (310-936-2988, jl.garcia@aol.com). More details are available here.

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