Necessity is the mother of invention. But in the case of seven Leyte priests, necessity has compelled them to become singers and dancers.
The priests, who call their group “Peter’s Chord,” showcased their singing-dancing talents in three concerts held in churches in Michigan on Sept. 1-3, 2016. They claim they are not professional singers and dancers and are only “trying to sing and dance,” but they surely sounded and looked like Broadway performers.
The seven priests – Msgr. Bernard Pantin, Fr. Isagani P. Petilos, Fr. Chris Militante, Fr. Dimasalang Fabian V. Mariano, Fr. Gregorio B. Bunales, Jr., Fr. Cipriano Rey A. Caraballa II and Fr. Raymund Ciprian N. Mazo – have their own parish churches in Leyte. The group’s manager, Msgr. Alex T. Oponiano, has also his own parish.
They formed the Peter’s Chord because of necessity: Their churches and the seminary building in the Archdiocese of Palo were destroyed by super typhoon Yolanda that struck Eastern Visayas on Nov. 8, 2013. Up to now, the churches and the seminary building have yet to be fully rebuilt.
They hope that by staging concerts, they can raise enough funds for the rebuilding of their churches.
The fund-raising concerts require sacrifices on their part. To put up a good show, almost every day they practice until 2 a.m. After that, they go back to their parishes, rest for two or three hours and wake up early to celebrate the morning mass.
The long hours of practice paid off as these resulted in entertaining performances. Their concert, entitled “Moments of Grace,” had drawn sizable crowds in Michigan. Some of the concert goers interviewed by the Filipino Star News after their concert at the St. Priscilla church in Livonia last Sept. 3, said they were amazed by the priests’ singing-dancing talents.
“It is a good show, and the ticket costs only $10,” commented Art Acosta, one of the some 300 attendees.
The concert was divided into two phases: First, Parts of the Mass, and second, the Prodigal. In the first part, they sang popular songs such as “I believe I can fly,” “Tanging Yaman,” and “This is the Moment.”
In the second part, the show turned into a full-blown musical as the priests related the biblical story of the Prodigal Son with songs and dances. They emoted like real actors with three of them playing the roles of the forgiving father, the prodigal son and the good son.
The show was made more entertaining with the participation of local singer Antoinette Joseph. Antoinette and Fr. Cris Militante wowed the crowd with their jamming of the popular Tagalog song, “Bakit Ngayon Ka Lang Dumating.”
The show opened with a choreographed dance performed by members of the choir of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Ministry headed by Gina Solon. The dance, titled “Faith to Carry On,” was choreographed and directed by Jun Mina.
Solon is also the president of the Ang Bisaya of Michigan, which hosted the concert together with the Waray Waray International Organization. In a brief speech before the show, Solon thanked Fr. Theo D’Cunha, parish priest of St. Priscilla, for supporting the concert.
The concert was earlier staged at the St. Rene Goupil church and a church in Taylor. The three concerts were coordinated by Wilmar Suan, vice president of FILAMCCO.
Before returning to the Philippines, the Peter’s Chord will also stage concerts in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Diego.
The emcees were Annabel Debarr and Melissa Buot-Favazza. Background music was provided by top DJ Allen Carter.