Valentine's Day at the Palace: PGMA belts out Richard Carpenter's song
Manila (14 February) -- In a departure from her usual busy schedule – flitting from event to event in the midst of a surge in government construction projects – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo started her official schedule at noon today by joining in the singing of a song composed by Richard Carpenter of 'Top of the World' fame who came calling on her at Malacanang.
Carpenter – in a becoming jusi barong and escorted by singer Claire dela Fuente of local 'Sayang' fame – paid a courtesy call on President Arroyo who welcomed him at the Music Room of Malacanang.
Arriving a few minutes earlier than the 12-noon call, Carpenter was asked by the palace protocol office if he wanted to practice his piano playing. Carpenter was escorted to the Rizal Hall where a grand piano stands for grand palace events, and there he tried out the piano keys, starting with the song that says, "I have you to save my day…"
Just before the appointed noontime courtesy call, Carpenter was brought back to the Music Room where he was welcomed by the President who enthused that Carpenter's music "has been in the Philippines for many years…"
The President then gave the multi-awarded songwriter, pianist and arranger a Presidential Citation which recognized his "strong influence to Filipino song writers and musicians, and whose artistic genius has become a standard for Filipino music…"
"This is more appreciated than I can put it in words," said the tongue-tied two-time Grammy Award winner.
The President then led Carpenter's delegation, which included record producer Vic del Rosario, to the Kalayaan Hall Garden where a sumptuous garden luncheon awaited them.
But before sitting down to lunch, the group proceeded to the already jampacked Presidential Broadcast Studio for a mini concert of sorts, with Dela Fuente belting out two songs, followed by Carpenter who sat on the piano and played 'Yesterday Once More.'
Asked by the audience for an encore, Carpenter obliged by playing the sentimental "I Have You," with Dela Fuente volunteering to sing the lyrics of the song. Faltering midway through the ballad, the chanteuse was joined by President Arroyo in the rendition of the meaningful lyrics that goes: "Sometimes, people ask me what keeps me going…"
Also in the audience were Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesperson Ignacio R. Bunye and Trade Secretary Peter Favila and other palace officials. (OPS) [top]