By Evangeline Café
Northwest Asian Weekly
Filipino pop sensation Sarah Geronimo drew nearly 2,000 fans to Seattle’s McCaw Hall on Friday, April 3.
The concert was part of Geronimo’s “The Next One” U.S. tour, which featured fellow recording artists Mark Bautista, Billy Crawford, and Charlie Green.
Geronimo treated her fans to a dynamic performance, belting out ballads in English and Tagalog and electrifying the stage with upbeat dance numbers. The 20-year-old also performed songs from her films “A Very Special Love” and “You Changed My Life.” The latter film has become the highest grossing Filipino film of all time.
Geronimo is a Philippine-born singer and actress whose rise to fame began when she won the televised singing competition “Star for a Night” in 2003. Geronimo, who was 14 years old at the time, impressed audiences with her powerful rendition of Celine Dion’s “To Love You More.”
A sold-out meet-and-greet dinner was held at the Filipino Community Center of Seattle the night prior to the concert. Hundreds of fans filled the ballroom hoping to catch a glimpse of the rising star.
“It’s my birthday present,” Raul Castillo said laughingly. He attended the dinner with his wife.
Jasmine Alindayu, 8, was ecstatic to see her idol up close. She watches Geronimo on a regular basis on The Filipino Channel (TFC), a cable service the broadcasts across North America.
“She sings it high, and I want to sing high, too,” said Alindayu.
The second runner-up in “Star for a Night,” Mark Bautista, has also achieved international stardom; he is joining Geronimo on tour. The two performed the duet “Kailan” in front of the Seattle audience.
Tour mate and R&B heartthrob Billy Crawford brought the crowd to its feet with his song “Bright Lights.” The night also included cover songs performed by artist Ne-Yo. The 26-year-old Filipino American has enjoyed musical success in Europe, Asia, and North America.
“Britain’s Got Talent” semi-finalist Charlie Green also shared the stage. The 12-year-old singer has received critical acclaim for his renditions of songs by Michael Bublé and Frank Sinatra. He has even received praise from Simon Cowell, a judge on “Britain’s Got Talent” and “American Idol.”
Other stops for “The Next One” tour include Houston, Chicago, and San Diego.
Most came to the concert with the excitement to see the tour’s main star, Sarah Geronimo. Her international fan base ranges from school-aged children to working Filipino moms to retired grandparents.
Filipino Community Center board member Efren Pascua is not afraid to admit that he is a fan. He believes Geronimo’s accomplishments are something all Filipinos should be proud of.
“She is the embodiment of Filipina talent,” said Pascua.
According to Pascua, live concerts, movie screenings, and TV broadcasts play an important role in helping Filipinos living abroad stay connected with the happenings back in the Philippines.
“It is a link for our culture,” he said.
“It is important, especially for those who have been living in the U.S. for a long time.”
“It makes them feel at ‘home,’” said 21-year-old Marielle Rodriguez, a Geronimo fan who had the honor of opening for Geronimo’s Seattle concert.
“Opening for Sarah was quite nerve-wracking but very exciting as well,” she said.
Other local artists who took part in the show included Clairbel, Gabrielle, Agnes, and Kontagious.
Rodriguez says Geronimo is widely admired by Filipinos across the globe not only because of her musical skills, but because of the way she embraces Filipino values.
“What I like about Sarah is she is modest. … She is wholesome. She doesn’t need to show skin or be all provocative to be noticed. She got famous because of her unbelievable talent,” said Rodriguez.
“She is a great role model and inspiration to a lot of people, including me.” (end)
Evangeline Cafe may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.