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“Queen of Kundiman” Sylvia La Torre with her granddaughter Anna Maria Perez de Taglé.  (Filipino Reporter photos by Marilyn Abalos)


Special to the Filipino Reporter

June Philippine Independence celebrations of Philippine culture and heritage spotlighted a Soiree Musicale with Sylvia La Torre, “Queen of Kundiman,” in New York City.

An Evening of Broadway, Pop & Kundiman was a delightful family gathering at the Kalayan Hall, Philippine Center on Fifth Avenue.

It was a community event where the Queen of Kundiman, “Sylvie” and granddaughter Anna Maria Perez de Taglé, Broadway and pop star, performed.

Very much like a family affair at your home, “Sylvie” and Anna Maria, as well as a few family and friends at the Philippine Center took turns to entertain the visitors.

Indeed in the words from Phantom’s Music of the Night (sung by friend Jared Martin) — “savor each sensation — you alone can only make my song take flight” — the soiree musicale took flight!

The people loved the evening.

The audience’s sentimental appreciation for the iconic Sylvia La Torre was immediate with her opening piece, “Memories” from the musical Cats.

Throughout the evening, her performance purred with humor, finesse, artistry.

The roster of family and friends who performed were 10-year-old Chelsea Chiu, Jared Martin, host Ivan Dorschner, and even Ambassador Mario L. de Leon, Jr. who sang an impromptu duet with Ms. La Torre.

Their duet was poignant and deliciously sweet — and the ambassador can sing! — “sarap na buhay.”

The highlight of the evening was the Kundiman selections which Ms. La Torre rendered, as well as the duet with granddaughter Anna Maria.

This writer especially enjoyed “Waray-Waray” and “Pubring Alindahaw.”

It was truly a treat to enjoy the seasoned “Queen of Kundiman” with her talent, spontaneity and connection with the audience and the lyrical songster Anna Maria.

Anna Maria said that her Grandma Sylvia was her first vocal coach singing along with “Bahay Kubo.”

“I have been waiting for this moment! I am so proud to be her granddaughter, Sylvia La Torre who is an institution of Philippine Song,” said Anna Maria.


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Consul General Mario Lopez de Leon, Jr. singing an impromptu duet with Sylvia La Torre.