Seasoned singer-actress Bituin Escalante’s star has always shone brightly on the grandest of stages
Since her signature hit “Kung Ako Na Lang Sana” bagged the 2002 Himig Handog Love Songs songwriting competition and named her “Best Interpreter”, Bituin has undoubtedly held her place among the Philippine’s best female vocalists.
Add a theater resumé that includes marquee roles in “Rocky Horror Picture Show”, “RENT” and “Dreamgirls” among others, this dynamic and powerful performer’s glittering list of accomplishments rivals that of any other all-time OPM superstar.
Yet for a diva who has shared the spotlight with world-renowned artists Spiral Staircase, David Benoit and Michel Legrand, Bituin couldn’t help but express her utmost respect and humble admiration for the dedicated choirs, composers and musicians of Jesuit Music Ministry (JMM).
“There is so much pride in doing this concert. It’s so humbling to be amongst these choirs, whom I’ve had the privilege of working with before, in different forms. Even if they aren’t that widely popular like most pop stars, they are indeed the backbone of the music industry,” lauded the daughter of 1970’s show group “Ambivalent Crowd” alto Gigi Escalante.
Speaking after her short rehearsal for JMM’s landmark concert “Ginintuan: Celebrating 50 years of Jesuit Music”, the Jazz-singer at heart recalled the integral role of the revolutionary liturgical music pioneered by the late Fr. Eduardo Hontiveros SJ, played in her formative years.
“Jesuit music was the music of our youth. I grew up in the Catholic school and all our religion books and classes utilized Jesuit Music. It is the foundation of our youth, and that is why there’s a bigger responsibility in performing tonight. There’s an undeniable weight to the words,” recounted an emotional, teary-eyed Bituin.
“The Jesuits really are progressive, and there’s just something so deep in their lyrics. They really are a beacon for our people, being socially ‘mulat’. They are a ‘light in the darkness’, especially in these times.”
Not forgetting her humble upbringing as a simple lass from Quezon City’s Project 4, Bituin further spoke volumes on the unique privilege of receiving an Ateneo education, under Jesuit ideals and formation. .
“Karamihan sa amin doon, lower middle-class income families, pero tinarget nila ang pag-aaral sa Ateneo. Napakaganda na lumalaki sa mundo, guided by Jesuit tradition.”
“Makabayan ako at proud akong sabihin na many of our young musicians come from Ateneo. Whether they are influenced by the school itself, by osmosis, it is simply ingrained in them. Their style of creativity is always informed and relevant. Through JMM and its choirs, o kahit rock and roll pa ‘yan,
there is social awareness and responsibility in their songs. Informed, intelligent music is the mark of the Jesuits,” Bituin highlighted.
Before amazing the Irwin Theater audience with her spectacular rendition of Himig Heswita’s “Gabing Kulimlim”, Bituin outpoured her thanksgiving for being part of JMM’s golden celebration.
“This is an expression of gratitude for the invite. It’s a gift, a blessing to be part of history, and this milestone for Jesuit Music.”