MANILA - Young crooner Rhap Salazar has bagged two major awards at the recently concluded 13th World Championships of Performing Arts (WCOPA) in Los Angeles, California.
The former ABS-CBN's "Little Big Star" contestant grabbed the Junior Grand Champion Performer of the World and Junior Grand Champion Solo Vocalist of the World titles.
He won gold medals when he competed in five categories under the junior division namely vocal Broadway, vocal gospel, vocal open, vocal pop, and vocal R&B/soul/jazz.
Aside from Salazar, The Young Voices of Negros bagged the Junior Grand Champion Group Vocalists of the World prize. Kimverlie Molina, 18, daughter of a Filipino expatriate in Saudi Arabia, also bested other contenders to get the top award in the senior vocals category.
Twelve other artists and a group from the Philippine delegation were also among WCOPA's 2009 medalists, many of whom winning the gold, in their respective divisions. The country sent 28 Filipino performing artists to WCOPA.
WCOPA is an annual international meet held in Hollywood in which selected countries are represented by their respective excellent aspiring performers and entertainers. The competitions include dance, vocal, modeling, acting, instrumentalists, and variety arts. In this Olympic-style competition, gold, silver and bronze medals are awarded plus $50,000 in scholarships to the Conservatory for Film and Television in New York.
During the 13th WCOPA, at least 20 countries participated in the competition.
Since the Philippines joined the WCOPA in 2005, five Filipino performing artists have already won the global competition’s top prizes.
They were Jed Madela (2005 Grand Champion Vocalist of the World and Grand Champion Performer of the World); Cercado Sisters (2006 Grand Champion Group Vocalists of the World); Reymond Sajor (2007 Grand Champion Vocalist of the World); Aria Clemente (2007 Grand Champion Vocalist of the World and Grand Champion Performer of the World); and Catherine Loria (2008 Grand Champion Vocalist of the World and Grand Champion Performer of the World).