ASOP Goes Mainstream: Wish FM Plays Songs of Praise

Wish FM’s “Golden Sundays” got a little more golden as it started airing songs from the “A Song of Praise Music Festival” (ASOP) of UNTV Life on October 18, 2015 from 5-6 a.m.

Kuya Daniel Razon announced that the management of Wish FM agreed to broadcast ASOP songs during the recently concluded ASOP Grand Finals at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

UNTV CEO Kuya Daniel Razon stands before a Smart-Araneta Coliseum brimming with people during the ASOP Year 4 Grand Finals on October 13, 2015. (Photo courtesy of Photoville International)
UNTV CEO Kuya Daniel Razon stands before a Smart-Araneta Coliseum brimming with people during the ASOP Year 4 Grand Finals on October 13, 2015. (Photo courtesy of Photoville International)

“So your songs, all your songs, both winning entries and not…watch out and you’ll hear them air on Wish FM every Sunday,” Kuya Daniel told the 12 songwriters during the grand finals.

The event, which was held on October 13, 2015, was the culmination of ASOP’s Year 4, after choosing a winning song for each month of the year.

The Do-Re-Mi of ASOP on TV

The Philippines’ biggest Gospel songwriting tilt began as a Church-wide biannual event of the Members Church of God International (MCGI) in 2004.

Maestro Ryan Cayabyab, Chairman of the Board of Judges, expressing his sentiments to the crowd. "I felt like I was praying all night," he said of his ASOP experience. (Photo courtesy of Photoville International)
Maestro Ryan Cayabyab, Chairman of the Board of Judges, expressing his sentiments to the crowd. “I felt like I was praying all night,” he said of his ASOP experience. (Photo courtesy of Photoville International)

In September 2012, MCGI Overall Servants and ASOP creators Bro. Eli Soriano and Bro. Daniel Razon extended it to television. The contest is open to all amateur and professional songwriters.

ASOP is a first of its kind not only in theme but also in format with a live panel of judges commenting after each song entry is performed.

One of the grand finalists this year, Leonardo De Jesus III, told that he has no formal training in songwriting, but only applied what he learned from the ASOP judges every time he tuned in.

Leah Patricio raises her award in gratitude to the One above. She was hailed as the Best Interpreter of ASOP Year 4's Grand Finals. (Photo courtesy of Photoville International)
Leah Patricio raises her award in gratitude to the One above. She was hailed as the Best Interpreter of ASOP Year 4’s Grand Finals. (Photo courtesy of Photoville International)

ASOP airs its weekly eliminations on Sundays from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., giving P20,000 to the winning song.

Monthly winners get P50,000 and are hailed as the music fest’s grand finalists. Consolation prizes to non-winning participants are also handed out.

Serious Money, Sincere Effort

The song-making competition, which recently debuted via radio airwaves, gives over P1M in tax-free prizes with half of it going to the Song of the Year winner.

Bro. Daniel remarked that the grand prize’s amount is equivalent to one who earns P40,000 per month, “That means, you can consider just writing songs of praise to God for the whole year.”

MCGI Overall Servant Bro. Eli Soriano speaks giving scientific and biblical insights on the importance of songs of praises via live video streaming. (Photo courtesy of Photoville International)
MCGI Overall Servant Bro. Eli Soriano giving scientific and biblical insights on the importance of songs of praises via live video streaming. (Photo courtesy of Photoville International)

Introducing Bro. Eli to the huge crowd, Bro. Razon said that he “is the man who really insisted that this [ASOP] be on television [through UNTV Life]. He is also the one who shells out [money] and extends his help for our composers to have a little token for their efforts.”

Bro. Eli, who spoke via live video streaming, shared his high regard for songs of praise.

“The thickest book in the Bible is the Book of Psalms, having less than 150 chapters,” remarked Bro. Eli. “It just shows that speaking of divinity, songs are important for God.”

Kuya Daniel Razon (center) and ASOP Hosts Richard Reynoso and Tony Rose Gayda sharing a candid moment on stage. The comedic chemistry of Reynoso and Gayda serve as tension-breaker before winners are announced. (Photo courtesy of Photoville International)
Kuya Daniel Razon (center) and ASOP Hosts Richard Reynoso and Tony Rose Gayda sharing a candid moment on stage. The comedic chemistry of Reynoso and Gayda serve as tension-breaker before winners are announced. (Photo courtesy of Photoville International)

The Old Path host added that praise music to the Lord does something for people. “It can strengthen our faith. It can give hope to us, and to other people as well.

“So I’m thankful for the continued participation of our composers, especially of our judges, here in the A Song of Praise Music Festival,” said Bro. Eli.

(Written by Rigor Arellano)

Bro. Eli Calls for More Multi-Dialect Songs of Praise in Future Music Fests

Bro. Eliseo Soriano, Overall Servant of the Members Church of God International (MCGI), called for more compositions in different languages and dialects in future A Song of Praise Music Festivals (ASOP).

“May what is in the Bible happen wherein all tongues, cities, and nations praise Him,” remarked Bro. Eli during the ASOP Year-End Finals 5774 on April 24, 2015.

MCGI follows the Hebrew Calendar observed by the Lord Jesus Christ and His Apostles.

Bro. Soriano encouraged composers to write in a variety of language and dialect.

Bro. Cris Ayuban, composer of Salamat Sa Iyo Amang Banal, accepts the Song of the Year-End 5774 plaque from Bro. Daniel Razon on April 24, 2015 at the ADD Convention Center in A palit, Pampanga. (Photo courtesy of Photoville International)
Bro. Cris Ayuban, composer of Salamat Sa Iyo Amang Banal, accepts the Song of the Year-End 5774 plaque from Bro. Daniel Razon on April 24, 2015 at the ADD Convention Center in A palit, Pampanga. (Photo courtesy of Photoville International)

“There is no better praise for God than for us to praise Him in our own native tongue,” said Bro. Soriano

He and Bro. Daniel Razon understand a number of Philippine southern dialects and foreign languages like Portuguese and Spanish.

Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel serve as judges during ASOP Finals. The MCGI Overall Servants give their comments after each song is presented.

In previous ASOP festivals, a song entry from Brazil titled, “Tua Palavra” (Your Word) won 3rd place in 2010, while “Ipasigarbo Ko” (I Will Boast Of) from Visayas got 3rd place in 2011.

“Salamat Sa Iyo Amang Banal”, penned by Bro. Cris Ayuban representing the Luzon Region, Philippines, claimed the Song of the Year-End 5774 title in the last ASOP finals.

A total of 14 entries came from different Church Divisions, most of which were in Filipino and English.

Noteworthy

Bro. Daniel advised congregants who wish to join the bi-annual event to review the comments of Bro. Eli in past ASOP festivals first.

“If we will listen to those comments, to the pointers that Bro. Eli gives — and we would then listen to the songs we wrote — more or less, we will understand how it should be done,” stated Kuya Daniel.

Bro. Jonathan Dumanais and Sis. April Jade Amparo singing Susi ng Tagumpay (Key of Success) from the Luzon Region, written by Bro. Edward Abrera. (Photo courtesy of Photoville International)
Bro. Jonathan Dumanais and Sis. April Jade Amparo singing Susi ng Tagumpay (Key of Success) from the Luzon Region, written by Bro. Edward Abrera. (Photo courtesy of Photoville International)

The singer-songwriter noted that though there are different ways to craft songs (e.g. melody first, lyrics later and vice versa or simultaneously done), there must still be room for adjustments.

Bro. Razon added that one major comment he and Bro. Eli give during ASOP is about how songwriters should avoid superfluity in a song’s lyrics, which makes it not jive well with the melody.

As Bro. Eli said, “Songs of praise that are easier to remember by the heart and mind are not intricate; they don’t beat around the bush.”

A Division Effort

Bro. Soriano reiterated the value of the consolidated efforts of composers, lyricists and the screening committees of each Church Division in improving their respective song entries.

The Old Path host also reminded songwriters to read the Book of Psalms, and to devote quality time in making songs for the Almighty.

Frank Packing croons a song entry from Singapore titled, "I Will Hold On," by Bro. Jude Abarca. (Photo courtesy of Photoville international)
Frank Packing croons a song entry from Singapore titled, “I Will Hold On,” by Bro. Jude Abarca. (Photo courtesy of Photoville international)

“A song is very important, because through it, God is delighted,” said Bro. Eli. “How can we please God? Simple. Just sing a song of praise to God… so long as you do it in faith.”

For the full list of winners, please see here.

(Written by Rigor Arellano)

Twelve New Praise Songs Celebrated at ASOP TV’s 2nd Grand Finals Night

Thousands of A Song of Praise enthusiasts filled to the brim the Smart-Araneta Coliseum on September 9 for the ASOP Grand Finals Night 2013.
The Big Dome or Smart-Araneta Coliseum, considered as one of the largest multi-purpose coliseums in Asia, was filled to the brim by thousands of observers enthusiastic to witness the A Song of Praise Music Festival Grand Finals Night.
(Photo: Gaye Fritz Ofilas/Photoville Intl.)

A big crowd come together for the A Song of Praise (ASOP) TV Music Festival Year 2 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum on September 9, putting behind differences in faith to celebrate songs of praise dedicated to God.

Through live streaming, Bro. Eli Soriano explains before the crowd the history and aim of ASOP TV, which is a counterpart of the songwriting competition with the same title, albeit an exclusive affair inside the Members Church of God International (MCGI) since 2004.

Bro. Eli Soriano, Presiding Minister to MCGI, recalls how he and Bro Daniel Razon, the Vice-Presiding Minister, started ASOP initially inside MCGI as a way of encouraging amateur and professional composers and lyricists to create songs of praise to God.

“God is well-pleased tonight because despite our differences in faith, we came together for an occasion that celebrates songs of praises dedicated to Him,” shares Bro. Soriano. Twelve new compositions of diverse genres were presented this year.

ASOP hosts Richard Reynoso and Toni Rose Gayda with the interpreters grace the stage for the evening’s opening number: Enrich the Spirit!
Enrich the spirit inspired by music! The interpreters and hosts Richard Reynoso and Toni Rose Gayda grace the stage for the evening’s opening number. (Photo: Rovic Balunsay/Photoville Intl.)

It was in 2011 when ASOP TV was launched and aired by UNTV, but it was already regarded as the first major show of its kind, the grandest, and the most generous in giving prizes.

Bro. Eli says that another factor that sets ASOP TV apart from other songwriting contest is the prizes. By giving away bigger prizes, more people will be encouraged to join the contest while the winning composers will then be motivated to focus in composing more praise songs.

The song “Ikaw” penned by Boy Chirstopher Ramos Jr. emerged as the “Song of the Year” while its performer, Pop Pinoy Superstar champion Jonalyn Viray was hailed as the Best Interpreter. Ramos received P500,000 while Viray took home P50,000.

The list of runners up include “I am Grateful”, “Lagi Kang Nariyan”, and “You’ll See Miracles” composed by RJ Jimenez, Christian Obar, and Paul Hildawa, respectively.

"Ikaw" (You), the ASOP 2013 Grand Champion, was penned by Boy Christopher Ramos Jr. and interpreted by Jonalyn Viray.
“Ikaw” (You) crafted by Boy Christopher Ramos Jr. and interpreted by Jonalyn Viray won the Song of the Year title in the ASOP Grand Finals Night at the Big Dome on September 9, 2013.

Comedian and TV host Joey De Leon served as one of the board of judges together with Mon del Rosario, a well-known hitmaker and ASOP TV’s resident judge; Annabelle Regalado-Borja, E-TALent Management and Entertainment’s CEO; and Kathleen Dy-Go, Universal Records’ General Manager.

Audie Gemora, an accomplished stage actor and director; Snaffu Rigor, a highly acclaimed composer and singer; and Raul Sunico, the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ incumbent President, complete the board.

Finalists and judges praise Bro. Eli and Kuya Daniel for innovating a show that can make people thankful and bring them closer to God through music.

(Words by Emmy Borromeo)

In Night of Many Firsts, Mid-Year ASOP Music Festival of 2013 Makes History

Walang Hanggang Kitang Sasambahin (Forever, I Will Worship You) was not only chosen as the Song of the Mid-Year 2013 in the recent ASOP Festival, but also one that Bro. Daniel Razon will record in the coming months.
The Song of the Mid-Year in the recent ASOP Festival, Walang Hanggang Kitang Sasambahin (Forever, I Will Worship You) will be recorded by Bro. Daniel Razon in the coming months, a first in the Music Festival’s history.

The songwriting music festival of the Members Church of God International (MCGI) for the mid-year of 2013 became a venue of well-received firsts and great praise music for the glory of God on the eve of July 8, 2013 in Apalit, Pampanga.

With “Walang Hanggan Kitang Sasambahin” bagging the Grand Prize, together with the other three top prizes of the 2013 Mid-Year A Song of Praise Music Festival, Asia-Oceania’s record-breaking streak was the first time for one region in ASOP’s timeline to sweep all major prizes.

For Sis Sally Morgan, a prize better than the cash reward and the trophy came the moment her grand prize-winning song was sung by Bro. Daniel Razon together with its interpreter during the finals, Sis May Checa. It was another first that an ASOP-winning song was performed by the Vice-Presiding Minister to MCGI.

Bro. Eli requested Bro. Daniel to assist in re-arranging the prize-winning piece to achieve better musicality and lyrics quality.

Other winners from the same region include Sis. Anamarie Natividad’s 1st runner-up placer, “Your Servant’s Prayer” that was interpreted by Sis Marianne Liwanag; and Bro. Jun Sarmiento’s 2nd runner-up placer, “Alipin Mong Walang Kabuluhan” that was interpreted by Sis. Aileen De Matos. Bro. Antonio Gan’s “Lahat ng Dahilan”, interpreted by Bro. Jonathan Dumanais won the 3rd Runner-up award.

The musical competition has MCGI leaders, Bro. Eliseo Soriano and Bro. Daniel Razon as regular judges. Criteria for judging the song finalists are musical content, lyrics, and over-all impact.

The next edition of ASOP in December will have a screening panel, which for the first time will subject finalist compositions to undergo massive and thorough evaluation and improvement to meet quality song standards. The aim is to make sure that musicians and lyricists get all the aid necessary to create well-crafted songs of praise.

“Dapat may panel na nag-screen ng kanta at nag-iimprove ng mga kanta.” (There must be a panel who would screen the songs and make improvements on the songs.) This, the televangelist said, should be convened immediately so there would be lesser edits during the finals night.

Throughout the competition, Bro. Eli made on-the-spot editing of the song lyrics after the performance of the entry. The MCGI Leader then called on the need for a screening panel.

Bro. Daniel, a songwriter himself, emphasized the importance of the “right marriage of a song.” Also known as Kuya Daniel for his broadcasting stints, he also furthered that the melody should fit the lyrics, and that the “musicality should be polished.”

Out of the fifteen mid-year finalists for 2013, participants from the Asia-Oceania, Europe-Israel-Africa and South America divisions composed nine entries. The remaining entries came from the Philippines’ Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao and NCR regions.

Mindanao Region’s entry entitled “We’ll be Home” was given a Special Award while the night’s Best Interpreters were Singapore’s Sis Marianne Liwanag for the song “Your Servant’s Prayer” and Pampanga’s Sis. Dalisay Painaga for the song “Ikaw ang Tangi Kong Buhay”.

The 2013 Mid-Year A Song of Praise Musical Festival was held immediately following the Church’s International Thanksgiving to God celebration on July 5 to 7 this year.

(Written by Rona Valdez)

(Photo by Rovic Balunsay)


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