Saturday, March 11, 2006

Martin Under The Stars

A log I made a year ago.

You need to book Martin Nievera weeks and even months in advance considering his very busy schedule. But four years?
"What? I don't even know what I'll do tomorrow," Nievera remembered thinking when Baguio Country Club President Federico Agcaoili told him in 2001 if he can perform for their 100th Anniversary celebration on February 18.
His second reaction was, Why me?
"There are others there. Why me," he told them.
Agcaoili has his own reasons but any Baguio resident will tell you that Martin Nievera has roots in Baguio.
"I am an Igorot by injection," he told INQUIRER before his concert.
His father, the balladeer Bert Nievera, was born and raised in Baguio.
"I took my first steps in Baguio," Martin said. February 5, 1962, Martin Nievera walked for the first time in a house that no longer exists near the Forest House beside the former main gate of Camp John Hay.
"It was an enchanted walk and it happened in Baguio," he said.
"Baguio is so pleasant. I love the climate. The people are very cooperative," he said.
During the torch parade along Session Road the day before, Nievera said that the "people follow the rules."
"Manila could learn so much from Baguio people. Baguio is a place to look up to," he said later during the concert.
"Manila is a place to look down to. I didn't day, look down on."
So Baguio was very memorable for Martin and since there are lots of time to think about his concert at BCC, he decided to make it into his dream concert.
"I always wanted to have a concert nestled in the trees," he said.
They decided to hold the concert at the opening tee of the golf course, between Hole No. 10 and Hole No. 18. It is in front of the Main Clubhouse and Nievera said that the hotel served as a sound buffer.
Seats were provided around the stage while those who preferred to stay in their hotel rooms and at the verandah can stay there. Martin Nievera was within eyesight of all in the audience.
"The greatest special effect would be when I would be in my Broadway Medley" and I would be singing from "The Phantom of the Opera" and the natural mist would come in. Then I would be singing "Climb Every Mountain." It would be perfect," he said.
It was 9 pm when Martin made his entrance, making a putt at the green of Hole No. 10.
Because it was the National Astronomy Week, the first three songs Martin sang were all astronomical.
He began with "Stardust" followed by "Corner of the Sky" and Van Morrison's Moondance. Inevitably, people looked at the stars and the waxing moon and it was a clear night for the BCC centennial.
Then Martin followed with Spiral Staircase's "More Today Than Yesterday" with Agcaoili duetting in the "I love you more today than yesterday/ But, darling, not as much as tomorrow" chorus.
You have a feeling it was Agcaoili's choice of songs with Free Movement's The Harder I Try (The Bluer I Get), Unforgettable, All The Way, Misty and Frankie Valli's "Can't Take My Eyes Off You."
Nievera, however, tried to connect with the younger set with Maroon 5's "This Love" and he did very, very well for a father of a son whose favorite song was that song.
"My son told me that this is one fo his favorites and didn't you know that the lyrics are very sexual.
Of course, what with the first lines of "I was so high I didn't recognize" down to "I'll fix these broken things/ Repair your broken wings/ And make sure everything's alright/ My pressure on your hips/ Sinking my fingertips/ Into every inch..." OK, got the point.
So he went back to Paul Anka's "Times of Your Life" before reminiscing about his attempt to conquer Las Vegas, one of his "groupie," it turned out, was BCC Boardmember Sylvia Illusorio-Yap.
He said that to get your way there, you have to learn from those who made it there like the "Rat Pack."
"My favorite was the smallest one, Sammy Davis Jr.," he said. "We have many similarities. His wife left him," he said, followed by nervous laughter from the crowd, then he went on his Sammy Davis medley.
By that time, I was going, losing Martin in the enveloping fog...


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