Fil-Am diva makes a mark as pop singer and Kundiman songstress
By Marivir R. Montebon
New York City – Fil-Am singer Kirby Asunto concluded her November 5 birthday concert with a rousing success at the Margaret Williams Theater at the NJCU. The “Simply Kirby Concert,” had proven the petite performer’s full-blown versatility on stage as a pop diva and Kundiman songstress.
“I saw that Kirby has remarkably evolved from a young promising singer to a full-blown artist that she is now. She nailed it when she sang Celine Dion songs,” said Elena Bahian, a P.E. teacher by profession and a dance and singing coach as well.
“Kirby’s concert was one of a kind since it catered not only American pop songs but also Filipino songs. She has expanded her voice and she can now be compatible with the famous Celine Dion,” Bahian added.
Cherry Marmes Smyth, from Connecticut and CEO of KIDS Philippines, said: “For over two hours, Kirby and her numerous guests entertained and excited the crowd with a variety of songs and dances. Kirby sported several beautiful outfits – from alluring evening wear to traditional Filipiniana. I was thoroughly entertained.”
Kirby pulled off popular Broadway show greats, popular songs, and Kundiman, sung in Tagalog and Visayan dialects which was specifically directed by internationally acclaimed musical director Michael Dadap. “Simply Kirby Asunto” was directed by Victor Hao Cuenco and produced and creatively managed by Cecille Ann Duyongco.
The 20-year-old versatile performer, for the first time, showed skin in her concert, but which was tastefully done. It was an artistic expression asserted by producer and creative manager Duyongco, who had to make special efforts for mother Shirley to agree.
As Medy Solero Hidalgo puts it, “I have seen Kirby grow in her singing career and she has become one of our best local talents. I’ve always been a fan and I’m very proud of her.” While Bahian loved Kirby’s rendition of Celine Dion, Solera-Hidalgo and her husband Rex loved the Kundiman suite. “It was very nostalgic and brought memories back home. We loved the part when Kirby was in her stunning blue and white Filipiniana.”
In an interview by OSM! for its Awesome in 5 minutes video show, the young Asunto attributes her versatility in singing by the her singing coach Bituin Escarche and by her mother Shirley’s careful selection of songs.
For community leader Juliet Payabyab, Kirby’s concert was very entertaining and was well done for all ages, thus filling to its maximum capacity (1020 seats) the NJCU Margaret Williams Theater despite the downpour that Sunday.
The NJCU Math Honor Society was the major presentor of the concert. Major sponsors were: Philippine Nurses Association-NJ, BY Tumulak Foundation Inc., Western Union, Kids Philippines Inc., VYNZ-NY Entertainment, OSM! online magazine, Fil-Am Who’s Who, Jo’s Flower Shop, LBC, and the Connecticut Association of Fil-Am Families.
It was also specially participated by the Body Rhythmics Dance Group headed by Hannah Diluvio and singers Joseph Legaspi, Rogelio Penaverde Jr., Seven Oden, Jared Mijares, and Marc Adrian.
(Photos by Medy Solero Hidalgo and Cherry Smyth; video by Cecile Duyongco Consultancy)