No doubt, Paolo Valenciano is most in-demand concert director

Leah C. Salterio

Posted at Aug 14 2022 07:28 AM

MANILA -- Just when stage and concert director Paolo Valenciano thought he could rest after the highly successful restaging of “Joseph the Dreamer,” Trumpets announced three more shows.

Yet Valenciano welcomed the work. On August 19 and 20, the whole cast and crew of “Joseph the Dreamer” will return onstage at the Globe Maybank Theater.

Back in March 2020, Valenciano, perhaps the most in-demand live events and concert director, resigned himself to the fact that “my services are now rendered useless in this new world” as he also predicted it would take a year before the local concert scene recovers from the pandemic.

Sure, the COVID-19 pandemic brought uncertainty to a lot of artists and to everyone in general. Live concerts did not happen, but artists pivoted to staging online shows or in virtual reality.

Thus, Valenciano directed virtual concerts for the likes of Alden Richards, Christian Bautista, Darren Espanto, Regine Velasquez and Ben & Ben, who still regaled their fans.

Last year, Valenciano directed the “Freedom” concert of Velasquez. He was also at the helm of Ben&Ben’s “Cuaderno.”

“Joseph the Dreamer” was a real challenge for Valenciano since it was his first venture in theater directing. “The first one in 2020 was more challenging because we worked on a new script, new cast and we restructured the whole thing,” he explained.

“This second one for ‘Joseph the Dreamer’ was difficult because of COVID. I was the last one who got COVID.”

Twelve persons – and not four, as earlier reported – in the cast and production staff turned positive on the first weekend of the scheduled performances (July 15 to 17) of “Joseph the Dreamer.” That included Valenciano.

“When we made the announcement that we were canceling that weekend, there were five who tested positive,” Valenciano shared. “Then there were others who tested positive on Saturday. I tested positive on Sunday.

“Even up to Monday, there were a few more who tested positive. I’m hoping that was the last surge. After that weekend, even the number of people that I know in general who tested positive became less.

“Thank God. I’m hoping that a lot of people are immune now. Slow down na the number of people who have been testing positive.”

On the first weekend of August, Valenciano observed the audience who watched was on a different level. “They were so loud and they were all so excited,” he recalled. “At first, we didn’t understand.

“Why were these people so noisy? They were laughing at all the jokes. They were applauding all the time. Then midway into the show, we realized that was supposedly the opening day crowd. They got moved two weeks later.

“When my dad addressed the audience at the end of the show, he said, ‘You were the ones who were supposed to see this first.’ Then the crowd started cheering and clapping. They were all excited to have watched the show.”

Valenciano, who started as soloist for his rock band Salamin, has undoubtedly carved his own path and found his own stride as a concert and live events director. He lives up to his last name to protect the legacy of his father.

Valenciano initially worked as associate director to his dad in “On Higher Ground” at the Music Museum (2012). Then, Valenciano directed Jericho Rosales onstage.

In 2018, Valenciano gave up performing, left his band Salamin and concentrated into directing. Through the years, Valenciano has directed the concerts of Sarah Geronimo, Toni Gonzaga, Bamboo, Regine Velasquez and Sharon Cuneta.

Valenciano cannot be happier that live performances started returning to the scene this year. He directed the live concerts of Anne Curtis, “Luv Anne,” as well as Cuneta and Velasquez, “Iconic,” all in June.

On September 3, he will direct the live concert of Ben&Ben at the CCP Open Grounds. The show will serve as a send-off for the nine-piece band who will embark on a US tour starting October.

Valenciano will also direct the US concert tour of his dad this September and October. He doesn’t have to be physically present in the shows, though. He will merely give directions online.

“When I help him with the tour, I only stay home,” Valenciano disclosed. “Even sina Regine and Echo, I direct their concert from the house while they were on tour.”

In October 8, Valenciano will work at the helm of Christian Bautista’s 20th anniversary concert, “The Way You Look at Me,” at the Samsung Performing Arts Theater in Circuit Makati.

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