Wine, Wagyu, and the Manila Symphony Orchestra

One of the oldest orchestra in Asia will be performing at the St. Augustine Church in Paoay on March 8 but the concert and the backdrop won’t be the only attractions that evening. Chef Chris Stolk of Smoke Bar and Restaurant will be cooking up a storm in the name of classical music, charity, wine, and wagyu. The special dinner will be served with Basi Maria and Virginia Blush, two of Basi del Diablo Wine’s bestsellers. The chef has not revealed other details about the dinner but notes that it will be yet another gastronomic experience for his patrons.

“The event will be a feast for the senses,” says Virginia Mangapit, Salucop Group’s Executive Vice President. Mrs Mangapit was informed about the concert and wine dinner on Wednesday. She said that eating dinner and enjoying a few glasses of wine while listening to an orchestra can be “one of the most amazing experiences a person can have”.

The musical extravaganza will feature the Manila Symphony Orchestra, according to Joyce Kasparian, the founder of SILAW Foundation. Mrs Kasparian comments that the concert is “a musical outreach to the people of Paoay”. Joyce Kasparian was born in the small town, her family’s property is just a short walk away from the centuries-old church. 

The orchestra will be led by guest conductor Marlon Chen, a music professor described by Mrs Kasparian as a “one of the best” in the industry. “Prof Chen has extensive experience,” the organisers say as he has led concerts across Europe, Asia, North America, and Latin America throughout his career.

“Prof Chen is a composer who has been arranging music for most of his life,” comments Mrs Kasparian. “He is also involved in musical score projects for Netflix films,” she adds.

Apart from the talented Prof Chen, SILAW Foundation also invited Dr Raffi Kasparian for the piano concerto. “He is a son-in-law of Paoay,” Mrs Kasparian says while talking about her husband.

Dr Kasparian is a concert pianist who used to play music with the United States Army Band. He is now retired and works with various choral groups abroad and coaches students with advanced piano backgrounds during his free time. “He’s a composer and arranges music,” Mrs Kasparian beams.

Dr Kasparian and Prof Chen will be joined by a 65-member orchestra.

“The concert will be exciting,” Ralph Atienza-Mckenzie, the Chief Operations Officer of Salucop Group says. He met with Smoke’s chef and SILAW Foundation representatives on Wednesday to talk about the event.

“They’d be playing Rachmaninoff. I grew up with these. I used to go to the opera with my parents and they also dragged me to orchestra performances. It was a pain but you only get to appreciate that as you grow older. I think it will be a good show because the orchestra will play Ilocano songs, something I know nothing about,” he adds.

According to SILAW Foundation’s events team, the group is expecting “at least 2,000” attendees. The concert will be held on March the 8th and will start at 6 in the evening.



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