Thursday, July 19, 2012

Singing Contest at the Peninsula Manila's Salon de Ning

This week has been pretty hectic, with our TRAVELIFE Drum Tao Nights going on at Resorts World (4 shows to go and tickets are selling out. Don't miss this!), the closing of our fabulous Travelife Aug-Sep 2012 5th Anniversary Issue very soon (out on Aug 15), and logistics planning for about a dozen trips all at the same time.


There's Hokkaido very soon, Jordan and Israel in a few weeks, Malaysia after that, Spain and Turkey next, and then South Africa, to just name the first few trips. And all of these need meticulous research and planning the Travelife Magazine way.

But at the invitation of Peninsula GM Sonja Vodusek, I stopped the Travelife manufacturing process for a few hours to head over to the Peninsula for the launch of the Sing@Ning talent competition at the Salon de Ning over cocktails and nibbles.

I almost never have cocktails as I'll either have wine or sparkling water. But today, after a couple of terribly busy weeks, I just felt like having a handful of cocktails. I don't know even know what I had but everything was good, and I remember downing something colored orange, something colored green, and something very potent. Yes, this was at about 12 noon today and I still had an afternoon of work to do.

I hadn't been to Salon de Ning in a pretty long time because I've been very busy during the short periods I've actually been in Manila. But in a flash I remembered all the wonderful times I've had here beginning from Day One, when it opened with a big bang in what was probably the best launch party ever in Manila.

Or at least the best launch party in a very long time. Champagne flowed like water, everyone was on the dance floor (or dancing even where there was no dance floor), and at 5 AM, I was still in the Peninsula lobby having breakfast after the all-night party.

I must've had at least a dozen glasses of SDN champagne that evening, and thinking about that party right now still makes me smile.

Since then a million things have happened and at least a dozen nice memories, at least two New Year's Eve after-parties, a couple more dozen nice songs, and about a hundred BBM messages are connected with Salon de Ning. I'll always remember all of these things with great fondness.


The launch event ended at about 1 PM, and afterwards Sonja and I had lunch in the lobby. I ordered the lobby's version of kare-kare with buntot, as I hadn't had it here in a long time. Well, it was very good -- full of juicy meat, a sauce with lots of honest-to-goodness peanuts, and the perfect salty bagoong to go with it.

We were joined by A and by Maestro Ruggero Barbieri, the Italian conductor who had just finished conducting the very successful opera, The Barber of Seville, last weekend.

Ruggero lives in Bergamo and he is an old Manila hand; but when we sat down with him earlier today, he was off back to Italy in about two hours. It was very interesting to hear about the logistics and behind-the-scenes planning that went on for The Barber of Seville, especially as it was the first time for this rather humorous opera to be performed in Manila.

Ruggero was very happy with the results, and especially with the reaction of the audience to this amusing opera. There was lots of laughter in the audience.

Scroll down to read more about the Salon de Ning...


Meanwhile, if you or anyone you know has great singing talent, you might want to continue reading the rest of this blog about a pretty glamorous way to stardom and possibly a singing career via the Salon de Ning of the Peninsula Manila.

The Peninsula Manila today launched Sing@Ning, the Search for the Ultimate Voice. Via this singing contest, college students from the ages of 18 to 25 will be given a chance to showcase their singing prowess in front of a professional jury composed of the Philippine music industry’s most influential personalities and a live audience.

Yes, they'll be singing amidst the glamorous 1930s Art Deco surroundings of Salon de Ning -- the perfect avenue for college students whose musical stars are on the rise.


The Peninsula Manila is looking for young solo Filipino singing talents. The sign up process is via a dedicated YouTube channel from August - 1 - 31, 2012. Click here to visit the YouTube channel.

Qualified contestants who make it through the initial video audition will undergo a series of live elimination rounds starting on September 16, 2012. The top three finalists will then compete in the grand finals in Salon de Ning on November 6, 2012 and vie for the grand prize consisting of scholarships to Spotlight Artists Centre and John Robert Powers, a weekend stay at The Peninsula Manila, a contract to perform in Salon de Ning and P 100,000 in cash.

This is the very first time that The Peninsula Manila has established a musical competition, although it is no stranger to nurturing the artistic talents of Filipino artists and their quest for exciting and meaningful opportunities for expression.


The Peninsula Manila General Manager Sonja Vodusek said today: “Sing@Ning is more than just another vocal competition. It is about supporting young solo amateur Filipino singers with a passion for their craft and providing them with an avenue to realize their dreams and make their unique mark in Philippine entertainment with their distinct abilities and styles. We hope that providing them with scholarships and a chance to perform in Salon de Ning, we will be doing our part in upholding and preserving a long and proud Filipino musical tradition and maybe even help advance and enhance the Philippine music industry as a whole.”

The judges for the contest include some of the biggest and most prominent names in Philippine entertainment: Girlie Rodis, actress Pinky Marquez, stage and television director Floy Quintos, vocal powerhouses Dulce, Bituin Escalante, Moi Ortiz, Sitti, Isay Alvarez, Robert Sena, Menchu Lauchengco, and Audie Gemora, among others.

At the project’s helm is respected musical director, stage actor, and vocal coach Onyl Torres, who is lending over 10 years’ worth of experience in the theater industry as a musical director and actor for Repertory Philippines, Dulaang UP, Tanghalang Pilipino, Philippine Educational Theater Association, among others.

Onyl Torres is leading the project as Sing@Ning’s over-all director and will create the perfect platform that will allow the young talents to truly shine. He said: “I am very excited to be a partner of The Peninsula Manila in this project, even more so at the prospect of actually being able to help select and nurture the next generation of Filipino musical artists through Sing@Ning. Who knows, we might discover the next Lea Salonga, Regine Velasquez, Nora Aunor, Christian Bautista, Bamboo or Ely Buendia?"

Scroll down to read about the Salon de Ning singing contest mechanics...

Sing@Ning Competition Mechanics: 

• Open to all Filipino or Filipino-descent college students from ages 18 – 25 who are currently enrolled at any university or school, or on official leave of absence (LOA).

• Contestants must be solo artists only.

• Contestants must not be – and never have been – signed to a record label.

• Contestants must fill out on-line application forms and attach the URL link of their application video entry at between August 1 - 31, 2012.

• The video entry must consist of the contestant performing a 100% Original Pilipino Music (OPM) composition either in English or Tagalog with a maximum length of no more than two minutes.

• The video entry must include a short spiel with the contestant, answering the following questions: 1. Name, age and school. 2. Why are you the Sing@Ning Ultimate Voice?

• The genres of songs are limited to pop, rock, opera, ballad, jazz, rhythm and blues, new age. Rap, grunge, or heavy metal is not allowed.

• Entry songs can be performed either a cappella or with accompaniment (either minus one or a musical instrument).

• Contestants may submit only one video entry. As such, succeeding video entries will be deemed invalid.

• All entries will undergo a shortlisting process by a screening committee. Screening period will be from September 1 - 5, 2012.

• The top three video entries with the most number of votes by August 31, 2012 will automatically be part of the shortlisted participants.

• Contestants will be notified and invited via e-mail and telephone on September 4, 2012 to participate in a live screening on September 6, 2012 from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm at The Peninsula Manila to determine the final 18 contestants who will join the first live elimination round before a professional jury and audience in Salon de Ning on September 16, 2012.

• The 18 contestants will undergo three live elimination rounds at Salon De Ning from September - October 2012 before competing at the grand finals in November 2012.

The dates for the live elimination rounds at Salon de Ning are 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm on September 18, October 9 and October 23 with the grand finals on November 6, 2012.

For inquiries on the competition, 
please contact the public relations department of 
The Peninsula Manila 
Tel (63-2) 887 2888 or 812 3456


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