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Lea Salonga, Tabernacle Choir expected to repeat viral performance at choir’s 1st Philippine concert

MANILA, Philippines — Following a successful and viral performance with The Tabernacle Choir in December 2022, acclaimed Filipina Broadway singer and actress Lea Salonga reunites with the internationally-renowned choir for its first ever concert in the country, the second stop for the group’s “Hope” world tour.

“Lea Salonga is a friend that we value very much,” choir president Michael Leavitt said in a press conference in Conrad Hotel Manila yesterday.

“We performed together at Christmastime of 2022. I think that performance was well-received in the Philippines, so we’re very excited repeating the experience,” Leavitt said of the choir’s performance videos with Salonga that reaped millions of views on YouTube.

“When the choir presented their invitation to perform with them in their concert in the Philippines as part of their world tour, it’s an invitation we said yes to pretty immediately after the experience working with Mack (the choir’s music director Mack Wilberg) and everyone two Christmases ago,” Lea said at the presser.

“It was memorable not only from personal standpoint. I remember feeling, this is something I really, really can’t forget. And I don’t know if there are many artists to have performed one time with the choir. So this is a big bonus to be able to do it again, and to be able to do it in our country, is also special… I’m very excited to be doing this again.”

WATCH: Lea shares reactions after invited to sing with Tabernacle Choir

Apart from "incredible" Manila traffic, Lea hoped the choir would be able to adjust to Philippine weather.

“I hope the choir would adjust to the humidity very quickly, and the heat. But I think definitely, the warmth (of the Filipino) people would be felt by everyone (in the choir),” she assured.

Besides Lea, Filipina YouTube sensation Ysabelle Cuevas will also join the choir as guest artist in two performances in Mall of Asia Arena on February 27 and 28, which are in total expected to draw around 18,000 spectators.

Although the choir’s first ever live shows in the country are exclusively by-invitation only, the performances would be streamed on YouTube and other platforms days after the concerts.

“Being here with the Tabernacle Choir, having listened to them my entire life is incredibly scary to me but I just know that this is going to change my life,” said Cuevas. “The thing I did to kind of overcome that fear is to take myself out of the equation and let the spirit, let the moment take its course and be as purposeful and present as I can be, and yes, just enjoy the moment…”

Wilberg said the local concert would present “something for everyone.”

“There would some classical music, there would be some folk music, and of course, hymns are a big part of what we do…”

According to him, even the songs that Lea would be singing are what they call as both “sacred and secular” as there would be a certain level of spirituality that can be felt from her performance.

“She’s not singing to your brain. She’s singing to your soul. And every generation would feel that,” Leavitt said of Lea as a performer.

“It’s a great honor for us to be in the Philippines for the first time. And I had to say, the hospitality and warmth of everyone we’ve been in contact with, whether it’s the hotel, those who are involved, the audiences. I think it’s unparalleled in our many world travels… I hope that we somewhat could share all the beauty and warmth that we got from all of you. Thank you very much!” — Photo, videos by Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

Credit belongs to : www.philstar.com

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