June 6, 2017
For the Chamber Orchestra’s final week in the Philippines, the group traveled to Manila to accompany Broadway star Lea Salonga in the most anticipated performance of the tour. This past April, Salonga visited Provo to sing with the Chamber Orchestra at BYU. The group returned the favor by traveling more than 7,000 miles to Salonga’s hometown to perform with her again. Salonga is best known for her Broadway roles in <em>Miss Saigon</em>, <em>Les Misérables</em>, and <em>Allegiance</em>. She was also the singing voice of Princess Jasmine and Mulan. Most recently she can be seen on <em>The Voice of the Philippines</em> as a celebrity coach. <h6>"There will be many moments to remember from this tour, but I don’t think any of them will be bigger for our students than the opportunity to perform with Lea Salonga in her hometown.”</h6> “There are hundreds of students who are traveling abroad with BYU programs this summer,” says Justin Smith, manager of the Philippines tour. “But only one program gave students a chance to share the stage with one of Broadway’s biggest stars—and that’s the BYU Chamber Orchestra. There will be many moments to remember from this tour, but I don’t think any of them will be bigger for our students than the opportunity to perform with Lea Salonga in her hometown.” The concert was a success, selling out all 1,750 seats at the Cultural Center of the Philippines—long considered the top venue for the arts in the country. “It was amazing!” says Pono Santos, a cellist in the orchestra. “I loved the concert we did at BYU, and it was such a thrill to perform with her again in Manila.” The show was the perfect finale to a tour that included 11 performances on three islands. Neal Hillam, a trumpet player from Midway, Utah, sums up the tour with these words, “I had a great time, and it was one of the best experiences of my life to get to serve the people in the Philippines through music.”READ MORE
Kory Katseanes, conductor of the Chamber Orchestra, introduces the group during a fireside in Cebu.
Trumpet students from BYU and the University of Santo Tomas pose for a photo after playing together during a music workshop.