² At 39, North America's only Filipino marching band marches on
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At 39, North America’s only Filipino marching band marches on

PHB musical director Orly Inocentes putting instrumentalists through their paces. INQUIRER/Marisa Roque

VAUGHAN, Ontario — More than 300 well-wishers partied at the Philippine Heritage Band’s 39th anniversary fete at Garnett Williams Community Center in Thornhill, Ontario on October 19, holding the anniversary celebration in a community center for the second year in a row, in response to member requests to hold events in less expensive venues.

Aurelia de Lara, newly elected president of PHB, explained, “Because of rising costs from banquet halls and hotels, we listened and understood how hard it is to sell pricey tickets.”

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The response from the attendees prove that the venue is not important, the cause is paramount.  Economizing on venue costs has not negatively affected the quality of the celebration.  Tickets at $30 per person not only supplied attendees with plenty of food, but also entitled them to draws for numerous door prizes.

Woodwind players CJ Sabado, 12, Stephanie Galzote, 12, and Janelle Rosqueta, 12 invite interested kids to join their ranks. INQUIRER/Marisa Roque

“Look at the beautiful decorations and centerpieces, the results of collective efforts of the board members, assistants, and members directed by Mac and Josie Guinto and vice president Lynne Sanders,” de Lara told guests.  “Not only will the band entertain you, we have Scarborough’s Sexy Over Sixty Dancers and the dynamic Vaughan Zumba Club too,” she added.  The guests flocked to have souvenir pictures taken at the photo booth, courtesy of Bert de Lara.

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PHB founder Oscar Farinas. INQUIRER/Marisa Roque

The mini concert and dinner dance had Consul Edwin Gil Mendoza from the Philippine Consulate General, Toronto, as keynote speaker.  Carol Banez, past PHB president and current director for the seniors’ committee and special projects, presided over the raffle.

Oscar Farinas, founder and executive director, encouraged the members to spread the message of the band to bring the children of the community to join the band and help grow PHB’s cultural reach.

Shaine Jaramillo, 9, Caryl Giron, 7, and Tanya Sabado, 8, get primped up by Aina Mendoza, PHB choreographer.

“This year, PHB will be one of 20 marching bands joining Toronto’s mammoth Santa Claus Parade on November 17,” Farinas said. “As Au de Lara mentioned, PHB is the one and only Philippine marching and concert band in North America, so spread the word,” Farinas added.

Orly Inocentes, PHB musical director, led the band members through the musical presentation.  Allan de Lara, associate music director, served as master of ceremonies.

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TAGS: North America’s sole Filipino marching band, Philippine Heritage Band, Vaughan Filipino community
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