“When was the last time you turned it up to 11?”
It is with this question that Onse, this year’s Ateneo Musicians’ Pool (AMP) recital, had opened.
In the org’s 18th year, the recital is a joint and collaborative effort of all the current members to showcase what AMP has to offer for 3 nights. This year, each chapter has been blown up bigger and better experience for everyone’s viewing pleasure. That is why AMP Recital 2015 is aptly called ONSE. It features a series of mini-concerts representing each of AMP’s events over the past year with a different set of its members performing each event, or Chapter.
Most of the members are expected hours before the event actually starts to help with the setting up. The lights and electronics are tested. The stage design is given last minute fixes. While everyone is frantically rushing around, the stage gleams beneath the lights being tested with a huge knob with ONSE swinging behind them.
While the first night was wracked by the most technical difficulties, it was only witnessed by a smaller audience, in comparison to the succeeding nights where RMT is almost packed with alumni, family and Ateneans. The artists for the Auditions chapter file in as the national anthem plays. They get ready and set-up as video is played before the artists launch into a mix of both rock and classical music. Two people join them afterwards, the beatboxer and the vocalist.
They perform with them, the embodiment of turning things up at the first impression. After ending with problem, the vocalist exits the stage and leaves the music playing to be appreciated fully. This includes a showcase of what everyone can do. At some point, a scene from the musical thriller Whiplash is recreated. The vocalist returns with an explosive cover of Katy Perry’s Dark House. The stage now has 5 string instruments before returning to the classical and rock hybrid. The interludes are now classical. The vocalist simply elongates vowels as the rest just shred to the otherwise trippy atmosphere. The guitarists take center stage and it is beautiful to listen to. With that, the Auditions chapter ends.
Up next is the Rites/Soloists’ Night chapter. Theme: Rock and Roll. The people go in to set up, and the chapter Guitarist Macky Manlulo acts out the opening to someone’s narration. After getting the crowd to chant “Yeah” to his “Hell”, three female vocalists open the set with Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer”. Meanwhile, someone goes around the room giving roses and taking selfies. Janessa Geronimo appears for “More Than Words” by Extreme. Faisal Tabusalla then takes a mic and starts singing. “Let the Flames Begin” by Paramore is sung at some point. The trio of female vocalists exit as the guys sing Franco’s “Song for the Suspect”. “Bagsakan” stomps in as Mico Echiverri timidly joins in to showcase his rap talents. The female trio return to close the set with Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love,” then exit with a standing ovation from the audience.
Next is the Camp Unity chapter. Bassist Juaneo Fernando acts as the awkward guy with a crush. It’s a sweet, lighthearted and fun chapter that begins with “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys. They have a fun skit to segue into the girls’ performance, which is different every night. The whole chapter is filled with cute acting and a lot of funny skits. It aptly ends with OPM classics.
The chapter that follows is Hampy Birthday. As is the nature of birthdays, the theme is a wild glowing neon party. The one and only Rocky Deleste acts out the chapter opening with a bit of help from Diego Lacap. The people from the previous chapters and the coverage team converge on the stage and dance to add fun to the set. They make the audience stand up and dance as well. Meanwhile, everyone runs around dancing. As implied in Rocky’s skit, the chapter ends with “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars.
T4 chapter is the last for night, and talks about looking back but moving forward. Pam Musni acts out the opening with a bit of help from Daniel Scarlata. It features AMP members both new and old, with four girls from different year levels singing. It opens with them belting out “Buklod” from Tunes ’13. In “Kamusta”, the original singer, Anj Florendo, joins the four girls. “Sunshine” is then performed by the bassist Andrew de Pano with Paola Mauricio. Elora Que, who originally sung the piece, emerges from the audience and joins them onstage. AMP alumni Gab Cabangon and Joshua Blay join in for “Pagbabalik” and “Bakit Gwapo lang ang Pinagbibigyan.” The set ends with “Time to Go” by Dearest.
Finally, Dondee Alampay calls all the graduating members of AMP for their final number, which is a performance of “Style” by Taylor Swift. The instrumentalists play an interlude while Rich Velarde introduces everyone from each chapter and calls everyone involved in ONSE onstage. Everyone takes a bow and sings along, thus ending AMP Recital 2015.
By Pomz Campos, Helena Baraquel, and Karl Estuart