TO RAISE funds for the benefit of the Sitio Mabilog community in Tarlac, a concert with the collaboration of soprano Rachelle Gerodias and pianist Najib Ismail was organized by the Pax Romana for its 75th anniversary last Aug. 17 at the UST Conservatory of Music’s Recital Hall 2.

With their own rendition of songs by Stefano Donaudy, Claude Debussy, Richard Strauss, and various American songs in the first part of the concert, Gerodias and Ismail gave a fresh interpretation of both classic and new age performance pieces.

Gerodias gave a stellar performance of “Sure On This Shining Night” by Samuel Barber, a soulful and melodramatic expression of love, which was harmoniously accompanied by Ismail’s soft play with the keys.

Right before the second part of the show, Gerodias reminded the audience to put their cellular phones in silent mode when a loud ringing suddenly echoed throughout the hall, the irony of it generating much laughter among the audience. It was only when they executed the piece “Hello, Hello” from Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Telephone, that the audience finally realized it was all part of the routine.

Gerodias teaches Voice at the Conservatory, and has, in her young concert career, reaped awards and distinctions that stretch her already long list of qualifications as a first-class performer. But Gerodias’ most notable achievement to date is being a two-time Aliw Awardee for Best Female Classical Artist.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Music Degree in Voice, she earned a scholarship grant at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York where she received a Master of Music Degree in Voice Performance and Literature with a Performer’s Certificate.

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Meanwhile, pianist Najib Ismail also has his own long list of credentials, with solo and chamber music performances here and abroad. After graduating from UST with a Bachelor of Music degree, he pursued further studies at the Hong Kong Academy of the Performing Arts where he earned a professional Diploma in Operatic Repertiteur and Vocal Accompa-niment.

He has performed alongside international artists like British soprano Sarah Leonard and baritone Michael Pierce. He also performed with soprano Armela Fortuna and tenor Abdul Candao in a concert tour in France, Austria, and Switzerland.

Gerodias’ majestic voice and Ismail’s swift hands enthralled a jam-packed hall, establishing sufficient aid to one of UST’s adopted communities. Other events in line for Pax Romana’s 75th anniversary celebration include a seminar with Bo Sanchez and Chin-chin Gutierrez, the revival of Pax Romana in the College of Fine Arts and Design, College of Architecture, and Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, and a 75th Diamond Alumni Homecoming. Anne Nerissa C. Alina

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