Truth, Beauty, Music

Thoughts on the Go

Because a Twitter or Facebook update are never enough, I offer you some of my thoughts and insights – whether byte-sized clips from dreamscapes, or free-form ramblings from my travels, or even my quirky everyday observances. I promise to edit them enough to be of interest you, but not too much to stop the flow of ideas inside of me to still land freshly onto your plate.


A Classical Voice Concert – Saturday, Nov. 30th @3pm

Enjoy a delightful afternoon of beautiful music with me…

My next concert is an offering from the heart… featuring Classical arias, songs, duets, Broadway tunes, and Christmas favourites – along with my fellow artists, baritone Austin Larussen and pianist Narmina Afandiyeva. Set in the warmly intimate acoustics of St. John’s Polish Catholic Church, a jewel of tranquility in the harried midst of downtown Toronto, our concert on Saturday, November 30th at 3pm hopes to soothe your soul and lift your spirits! Admission is free (voluntary donations are appreciated), and there’s plenty of free parking.

Come as you are, and see you soon!

LilacA Classical Voice Concert

Lilac Caña to receive 2010 “Pamana Ng Pilipinas” Presidential Award

Toronto based Filipino-Canadian Soprano Lilac L. Caña has been selected by President Benigno S. Aquino III as one of the recipients of the Year 2010 Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas. She is to be conferred the Pamana Ng Pilipino Award, and has the honor of meeting President Aquino and the other awardees worldwide, who will come home during the awarding ceremonies on 14 December 2010 at Malacañan Palace.

The Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas is a biennial award established by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas – an agency of the Philippine Government tasked to promote and uphold the interests of Filipino emigrants and permanent residents abroad, and preserve and strengthen ties with Filipino communities overseas. The awards are conferred on Filipino individuals and organizations that contribute to Philippine development or promote the interests of Filipino communities overseas. It is also given to Filipinos overseas who have distinguished themselves in their professions.

Among the four award categories, the Pamana Ng Pilipino Award is conferred on Filipinos overseas, who, in exemplifying the talent and industry of the Filipino, have brought the country honor and recognition through excellence and distinction in the pursuit of their work or profession.

Ms. Caña continues to play an active role in the GTA, sharing her musical talents and services not just within the Filipino-Canadian community here, but also with the wider Canadian, US, European, and Philippine audiences. She has given concerts, vocal workshops, served as music director at St. John’s Cathedral Polish Catholic Church, recorded seven CD albums, and continues to help several charities with her fundraising events and efforts.

Former awardees of this prestigious Presidential Award are: internationally reknowned concert pianist Dr. Raul Sunico (now Dean of Music at the University of Santo Thomas); former Mayor of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Arthur Viola; Jeffrey Rustia, President and CEO of Front TV; and Norma Carpio, former PIDC President and founder of Toronto’s Mabuhay Festival.

Lilac is deeply grateful and humbled by this honor bestowed on her and her family. She is to sing at the ceremonies, accompanied by the Leggiero String Ensemble, and violinist John Lesaca. Accompanying her at Malacañan Palace and at the CFO conferences for the awardees, are her proud parents: Sir Lapulapu P. Caña (Commander, Knights of Rizal), and Lady Ligaya L. Caña (Ontario State Regent, Daughters of Isabella).

Summit silliness

So the G8 and G20 summits are rolling into town…one up in Huntsville, Ontari-a-rio, and the other bigger one — right in my backyard.

You’ve read and heard the news…million-dollar fake lakes, the mounties and illegitimate imported security services, sonic sound-blasting anti-rioter machines, an armada of special services staff and media people to cover this über-expensive world get-together.

I just never imagined it could come SO uncomfortably close to home.  My backyard is the shared courtyard of the Rogers Centre Skydome, where on a good Blue Jays Game day, or rock concert evening, I can see streams of sports fans or concertgoers mingle outside of the big dome.  These days, there are platoons of OPP officers on horseback practicing their drills, or handfuls of event coordinators starting to put up metal fence posts around the perimeter of Bremner Avenue, all the way around to the south entrance of the Metro Convention Centre near Rees St. (where the bulk of the G20 summit activities will take place).  On Front Street West at the corner of Blue Jays Way, there are already cement barricades in place, I imagine to keep out the crowds a few feet away from the actual Metro Convention Centre front of building.

It’s surreal, and yes it’s history in the making, but what a spectacle!  Tomorrow I’m going to an information session for residents of this G20 summit zone, where hopefully some of our questions are going to be answered. As in, will we be able to survive this ordeal? And, what can we do, short of leaving town altogether, to live normally (as much as possible). Part of me wants to do just that: take a flight to a remote island off of Java (like the mysterious island in LOST). But another part of me refuses to be ousted out of my own home, just because the politicians decided they would use our taxpayers’ money and lavish it on our out of town guests, just to prove that we Canadians have a beautiful country.

I think I’ll stay and witness the silliness, and (hopefully) live to tell about it.

June in Swoon

Where did May go? Seems that, halfway through this Tiger year 2010 already, we find ourselves in one of the summerest months of them all–June. Around my neighbourhood (which is right in the midst of those iconic landmarks of T.Dot – the masculine CN Tower, beside the feminine SkyDome) – I can already see signs of what could potentially be a rather explosive G20 Summit. Normally a traffic bottleneck most weekdays around rush-hour, my ‘hood will soon be home to a few thousand delegates from around the “developed” world, who have chosen to come here to discuss…what? the economy? environmental concerns? fun ways to fend off some angry protesters?

I notice more provincial police officers decked in OPP Black & White uniforms, lurking with their Vespa-like scooters — parked at most corners of this quadrant, from King St. West and Bathurst, to right at my front door. Are they extras from a film-shooting of “The Matrix — Final Attack”?  Also, I see our taxpayers’ loonies being put to use whenever I attempt to drive anywhere on the Lakeshore or Gardiner Expressway…and, there’s construction. Or Bridge work, or widening of lanes, or any other possible form of blockage or delay to anyone who has to pass on these public highways.  I can understand the necessity — Toronto needs to be prettified for our international guests. But it’s beginning to feel a little claustrophobic.

Think I’ll take the bike out more often, to get around. Bound to be some rockin’ times ahead…

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

The struggle we are witnessing today in Thailand between the insurgent “Red Shirt” protesters and the government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva saddens me… I had just passed through this beautiful part of the world for the first time last February 2010, on a trip to Siem Riep, Cambodia, to explore the temples and history of this remarkable city. Bangkok was the main hub, going to Siem Riep from Manila and back again. How ironic that the centuries-old animosity between the two ancient cultures of Thailand and Cambodia — then called Siam and Khmer — is mirrored in the bloody scenes we see today. (Siem Riep literally translates as “the City where Siam was defeated”.)

Civil unrest and discontent will always find expression among people who are unjustly treated by those in authority who abuse their power. The protests in downtown Bangkok may have been violently repressed by the Thai soldiers for now, but the people’s rage could now be channeled into guerrilla warfare. The desire for necessary justice remains unquenchable.