It was hard telling which song was best. Judging in the A Song of Praise or ASOP Mid-Year Finals on July 9, Bro. Eli Soriano said that choosing winners was hard as “I have seen much better [songs] than [in] the previous ASOPs.”
ASOP is a bi-annual songwriting event of the Members Church of God International or MCGI. Leaders Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel Razon launched it in 2004 to produce more “Church-grown” songs of praise to God.
The recent music festival held at the ADD Convention Center in Pampanga, Philippines concluded with ties in three titles. The two songs that bagged the Song of the Mid-Year Award were “Alabok Na Sisidlan” (Dust Vessel) by Brother Pablo Buan (Asia and Oceania region) and “It’s Just Not Me” by Brother Rigor Arellano (Central Apalit, Luzon region).
First placers were “Walang Kaparis Ang Isang Tulad Mo” (No One’s Like You) by Sister Loida Dumandan (South America) and “Pag-ibig Mong Wagas” (Your Eternal Love) by Sister Rowena Acan (San Diego, North America). Sharing second place were “Panginoon Kay Buti Mo” (Lord, How Good You Are) by Brother Enrique Libiran (South Korea, Asia and Oceania region) and “Ang Salita Mo” (Your Word) by Brother Chris Paycana (South America). Flying solo in third place however was “Ngayo’y May Pag-asa” (Now I Have Hope) by Bro. Jonathan Dumanais (Bulacan, Luzon region).
Three interpreters took home the Best Interpreter Award: Brother Anton Estrella Jr., Sister Connie Yanga, and Sister Raquel Baluyot.
Since its inception, Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel have given millions of pesos in prizes and countless comments on making melodically, lyrically, and biblically sound songs.
In his closing remarks however, Bro. Eli requested that professional interpreters should not be chosen to deliver entries in future ASOP festivals. “We might lose our sense of justice, especially towards the lyrics and musicality of the song,” added Bro. Eli who further acknowledged that he gets convinced by a song’s interpretation.
“God deserves the best,” Bro. Eli stressed once more before the night ended at about 12 m.n. He once elaborated what he meant by “best:” Praise songs that can become international hits, extraordinary songs, that will remain in the memory of the human race.
The next ASOP Music Festival for 2012, the year-end finals, is expected to be after MCGI’s three-day International Thanksgiving in December.
(Written by: Jay Arellano)