By Marivir R. Montebon
New York City
I ecstatically checked one item in my bucket list on October 27, an otherwise chilly autumn day in New York: Watch a Lani Misalucha Concert. Yes, I was in a giggly mode on the NJ Transit bound towards Linden in New Jersey to watch the most seasoned, spectacular Filipina singer perform in a concert.
Minus the pompous and elaborate stage so characteristic of the Las Vegas Strip, Lani enthralled her audience at the gym of the Sts. Mary and Elizabeth Academy. The two-hour concert was all about her pure, elastic full octave voice, and that endearing style of making an audience laugh and participate.
Lani Misalucha, ever since her stint as singer in the Philippines, had entertained with the widest range of voice, from the low alto to the ambitious highest note of a soprano one. She teases any musical note, whether high or low, with a voice so sweet or full. She just pulls it off. In fact, Celine Dion, as a peer, has spoken highly of her talent and ability.
Since she conquered Las Vegas in 2004, Lani has been called “New Siren of the Strip.” She was “Best Singer” in the 27th Annual Best of Las Vegas poll by the Las Vegas Review Journal in March 2008. Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman awesomely declared December 4 as “Lani Misalucha Day”.
So there was my chance to hear Lani sing live, that FALDEF fundraiser concert.
East coasters were game and fun. Everybody sang “lalalalala” with her from ‘Lovin’ You’ and someone tried to pull off the pinnacle of the tune which only a nightingale can sweetly and sharply sing…aaaaahhh (my words cannot even capture its piercing shrill).
They also sang the old song with feelings…”you don’t have to say love me, just be close at hand” from Lani’s popular remake of the song “You don’t have to say you love me”.
Rising talent Jared Martin was the concert’s headliner.
Kirby Asunto, fresh from her success as Basilio in the Noli Me Tangere Opera, rendered songs before Lani to an audience of about 200, an impressive turn-out. The concert was a fund raiser for the FALDEF, a not-for-profit organization providing legal and education services for immigrants and for the St. Mary of Hungary Church.
Lani included in her repertoire a medley of the songs of Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, and Donna Summer, songs that sent everyone holding their breath, and then breaking in generous applause.
She finally showed her singing prowess as an opera singer in the Italian rendition of Titanic’s My Heart will Go On, Il Mio Coure Va. Absolutely stunning.
The prolonged encore stretched to Abba’s Dancing Queen and Thank You for the Music. Everybody went wild, and went home happy and satisfied. (On November 1, Ms. Misalucha will do another fund raiser concert for the victims of the Bohol and Cebu earthquake at the Philippine Consulate on 5th Avenue, NYC at 8PM.)