SHOWSTOPPERS IN METRO MANILA
Manila, Philippines – SHOWSTOPPERS’ CENTER FOR MUSIC AND ARTS, a new performing arts school opened yesterday, July 9, 2005, in Quezon City, Philippines – the brainchild of Dr. Zonia Elvas Velasco, prolific stage and television producer as well as talent developer for the Dallas, Texas area. SHOWSTOPPERS’ Center for Music and Arts offers individual lessons in Voice, Piano, Guitar, and Violin, as well as group classes in Musical Theater, Drama, Modeling, Art Painting, Martial Arts, Belly Dancing, Ballroom Dancing, Hip Hop, Aerodance and Taebo. The Center also offers Public Speaking and Diction, Accent and Intonation Training for groups or one-on-one; StarMaker Programs for showbiz hopefuls; and will coach, train and help produce CD recordings for its students. SHOWSTOPPERS’ Center for Music and Arts will also put up its own shows to give needed exposure and performance training for its qualified students. For its graduates and other professionals, it offers an artist listing and booking service. This state of the art facility is in close proximity to schools and major transportation, including the MRT. For more details, call the center secretariat at 431-2328 or cell (0919) 761 3849. The school is located at Suite 3 Creekside, Delta Building, #2 West Ave (corner Quezon Ave) in Quezon City. SHOWSTOPPERS’ Center for Music and Arts will provide appropriate and accelerated training in the performing arts, under Dr. Velasco’s expertise and guidance, thus giving students more value for their money and a greater sense of achievement.
Founder and executive director Dr. Zonia Elvas Velasco visited the Philippines last May and was inspired to open a school in Metro Manila, with the desire to be involved in the making of superstars and world-class artists of various performing arts. As head of Starmaker Productions in Dallas, Texas, Dr. Velasco has for many years coached many performing groups and ensembles as well as individual talents and participated in their professional development. She continues to be a prolific producer of many cultural shows annually for Dallas International Festivals, Dallas Community Television, and for the Office of Cultural Affairs of the City of Dallas, as part of its Neighborhood Touring Program since 1988. She is well known for her organizing ability as well as for the excellence of her mammoth productions, which she has brought to other countries like Venezuela in South America. A cultural icon for the Filipino-Asian Pacific Islander folk arts in the United States, this multi-awarded leader is a much sought after speaker on arts and culture internationally.
When asked what she brings to performers that is different from other training that is offered locally, Dr. Velasco says, “There are more Filipinos born with exceptional talent as compared to other groups of people that I know of in the world. However, the tendency is to keep these skills in a box and it keeps them from expanding their horizons to become the best they could ever be. I know how it is to be trained here in the Philippines, because I was trained by the best teachers and was a part of the best groups. But there are strategies and approaches that I have learned and developed through the years that hone the many aspects of performance, adding skills and insights to each move, word, expression, and note. These skills go beyond cultural fences and involve more than just talent. This is what many Filipino performers lack- I rarely see these developed skills in productions that come from the Philippines – not on TV, not in the movies, not on stage. I bring a new dimension of developing the total skills that a talent needs in order to become a world-class professional performer. Our Center will be instrumental in developing the next generation of superstars.”
VOICE COACH FOR THE NEW GENERATION
JEANNE VELASCO-VICARS, Voice Coach for the New Generation
By Margaux Aramis
Who would have thought that underneath a pizza restaurant, going down the side stairs, just beside a creek, you would actually find a school? Right smack at the corner of two major thoroughfares in Quezon City, you will find the Showstoppers Center for Music and Arts. Strategically located at the Delta Building, Quezon Avenue corner West Avenue, lies a very new training ground for aspiring performing artists who seek to excel in their chosen field. And passionately running this school is a charming, petite and unassuming woman named Jeanne Velasco-Vicars.
Ms. Vicars was recently contracted as the Voice Coach for the Cebu Dorm of ABS-CBN’s reality-based singing competition, Pinoy Dream Academy. For two weeks, she trained the vocal chords of a group of participants hoping to be selected as part of sixteen scholars who would be housed together and compete in the Pinoy Dream Academy, which is the local franchise of Dream Academy International.
MA: What exactly were your responsibilities during the two weeks you were with Pinoy Dream Academy?
JVV: My responsibility was primarily to assess them and to rehearse them. But I went the extra mile and taught them correct singing technique that I felt would give them an advantage over the other contestants. I think my group had more time to focus on vocal technique than the other groups.
MA: This would be the very first batch of Pinoy Dream Academy. How would you evaluate this current batch, particularly the students that were under you?
JVV: Well in my batch, most of them are from the provinces so iba ang personality nila. In my opinion parang… ano sila, more quiet, more humble, more objective. They are more prepared to accept disappointment or rejection. I think they are more down to earth than the others.
MA: But does that mean they were less confident to win?
JVV: No, no. But I think they knew that the chances of them getting into the Academy, seeing all the talent around them, they knew their chances were equal. Until the very end, nobody knew the basis for selection. But based on who were finally selected, I guess they chose those who had well-rounded personalities, those who wouldn’t be hard to get along with when they live together.
MA: So it’s much more than just talent then?
JVV: It’s more than talent, it’s about personality, about their willingness to learn. I noticed kasi, yung mga medyo overconfident and overzealous, hindi nila kinuha. That’s my personal assessment.
MA: Can you describe to us your teaching technique?
JVV: Vocal Sound Management is a way to control how you produce sound in your head, in a way that would make you sound louder, make you sound clearer, make your enunciation clearer and make your singing style more flexible without damaging your vocal chords. It is the most efficient way of singing that I’ve ever discovered. But the most important aspect of teaching Vocal Sound Management is that the teacher would be able to correct or stop the student from applying wrong singing technique right away. So my students turn out to be more intelligent singers and they themselves would know whether they’re singing correctly or not, and they can make the proper adjustments.
MA: Can anyone learn how to sing?
JVV: Oh yes, of course. Singing is a skill. Skill is learned. It’s not just a gift, anyone can learn. I’ve had so many tone deaf students who had learned how to sing in tune.
For more information about Showstoppers Center for Music and Arts, call 3763432.