January 7, 2013


ASOP Year-End Finals 2012: Much Better Than Last – Bro. Eli

Capping 2012 with new songs of praise, the “A Song of Praise Year-End Finals” on December 25 last year yielded better entries than the Mid-Year ASOP Festival in July of 2012.

Bro. Eli Soriano, who judged the bi-annual event of the Members Church of God International (MCGI), together with Bro. Daniel Razon, said that though the entries in this ASOP Finals fared much better than the last festival, they have not yet reached the standards of ‘the perfect songs for a perfect God.’

The Presiding Minister to the MCGI also commended the program and presentation of songs. The songwriting competition was held at the ADD Convention Center in Apalit, Pampanga.

Bro. Eliseo Soriano congratulating ASOP Year-End 2012 winners in Pampanga, Philippines.
Bro. Eli Soriano congratulating the winners of the A Song of Praise Music Festival 2012 Year-End Finals.

Critiquing Choruses Critical to Songs’ Success

ASOP’s much awaited segment was the part when MCGI Leaders gave comments after each song was presented. “Wordy” became the word of the night as Bro. Daniel critiqued the ‘compacted’ structure of the choruses’ lines. He stressed the importance of writing a chorus, that it should contain a song’s most crucial musical lines.

What also makes this songwriting festival unique is that comments are accompanied by suggestions on how the lyrics can still be improved. As in most of this edition’s entries, it was their choruses’ lyrics that Bro. Eli made minor changes to, with the composer’s indulgence.

Other pieces of musical advice the Vice-Presiding Minister to the MCGI gave included proper choice of words, intended audience, and music length. He has composed several songs in the past; some of which have been rendered by popular Filipino artists like Jed Madela and Richard Reynoso.

Also a songwriter himself, Bro. Daniel shared his songwriting technique where he starts with a song’s chorus first, making it easier to develop the other parts. He noted however that the ‘build-up to the chorus’ is highly important as well.

Singer-songwriter Bro. Daniel Razon giving tips on making heavenly praise music.
Composers and lyricists also hear comments to their song from singer-songwriter Bro. Daniel Razon.

For his part, Bro. Eli did ‘live editing’ of the choruses. Since most of the songs had lyric-length issues, he would request interpreters to repeat the chorus applying his suggestions.

Bro. Eli voicing his thoughts on how to properly end a chorus melodically speaking. In the end, the MCGI Leaders added another line to the song entry’s chorus completing it.

The Ang Dating Daan (The Old Path) host even wished that he had time to talk with the composers and see their work before the event. However, his regular Bible Expositions in different languages and time zones and other responsibilities make him unavailable for the endeavor.

After some words were omitted and a few notes changed, the songs’ choruses ended up with an easier singing and listening experience. The crowd gathered at the Convention applauded as they heard the song’s improvement outright.

Winning Pieces

Two songs were awarded Song of the Year-End with a score of 94.7%. Sharing the title were Ang Una Kong Pag-ibig (My First Love) from South Korea and Walang Kasing Tamis (Nothing Sweeter) from the National Capital Region.

Bro. Eli also expressed his appreciation of all the singers’ interpretation of the songs. He remarked however that ASOP is not about the way the songs of praise were sung, but how they were crafted.

For Bro. Eliseo Soriano a song of praise must pass biblical standards.
Apart from musical standards, the song’s lyrics must be biblically sound according to Bro. Eli.

He said that he and Bro. Daniel are “focused on a song’s lyrics,” on its being biblical, and on the “faith of the brother that is in the song.”

The MCGI Leaders hope that members will continue to improve their songwriting for “the Greatest Person in the universe.”

For the complete list of winners, please see here.

(Written by: Rigor Arellano)

 (Photography by: Rovic Balunsay, Photoville International)

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