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Arnel Pineda topbills HKMU’s 70th year concert on Apr 29

25 April 2018

HKMU's 70th anniversary concert poster

by Daisy CL Mandap

A Filipino singing legend is returning this weekend to Hong Kong, his home for many years, to pay tribute to a group he was once part of. 

Arnel Pineda, soloist of the world-famous American rock band, Journey, will join his former Hong Kong band mates on stage this coming Sunday, Apr 29 at the Cultural Centre Piazza in Tsimshatsui, for the Hong Kong Musician Union’s concert to celebrate its 70th year.

Arnel Pineda at his Manila concert in Sept
Pineda, 50, will sing with his former Most W@anted band mates in what HKMU chair Manuela Lo said will be “a kind of reunion for them.”

Lo said she and former HKMU chair Jun Cortes, both convinced Pineda to find time to support the milestone in the union’s history.

“He was with HKMU for years when he was still here in Hong Kong,” said Lo.

Pineda, along with his Most W@anted band mates, sang six days a week in a club in Central in the early 2000s. On Sundays, their only day off in the week, they often obliged requests to sing at community events, including the annual Philippine Independence Day celebrations.

Pineda moved back to Manila in 2006 to join a new band, The Zoo, and was discovered on YouTube the next year by Journey’s lead guitarist Neal Schon. By the early 2008, he was already part of Journey, and began touring with the legendary band in the same year.

(Check The SUN's earlier story on Arnel Pineda and his life's Journey here:

Over the years, Pineda would visit Hong Kong and jam with his friends, do short singing stints at community events, or perform solo, like the one he did last January at the Dog House in Tsimshatsui.

HKMU chair Manuela Lo
Lo said he will resume his world tour with Journey next month.

Pineda is not the only luminary to perform at the concert to mark a milestone in the Filipino community’s oldest organization.

Also part of the program are a motley of talents, including the Hong Kong Youth Jazz Orchestra with Taka Hirohama, Boyet Herrera and the ICEBOX Band, Chris Polanco & His Azucar Latina Band, Suzan Guterres, Anders Nelson, and two groups of selected HKMU artists.

Lo described Guterres as a popular TV personality in Hong Kong, and the daughter of a veteran singer who was also famous during her time. Nellson, Hirohama and Polanco are all popular performers who are active supporters of HKMU.

The concert is a dream come true for Lo, who is on her third two-year term as HKMU chair.

“It has been tough putting it together, but we are determined to do it,” said Lo.

Organizing charity concerts is just one of the many challenges confronting Lo and the HKMU at the moment. Seven decades since it was founded, the Union is struggling to keep afloat, mainly because of the rapid drop in demand for live performances.

“Life has been tough in the music industry for the past few years. We are trying our best to find jobs for the other musicians and help them as much as we can,” said Lo.

Corollary to this is the Union’s effort to keep members within the fold so they could continue enjoying benefits, as well as the life insurance that assures their families of financial help in case of their untimely death.

Tough as the challenges are, Lo is resolute on forging ahead. She is now looking at offering more music courses at the HKMU’s clubhouse in Kowloon as a way to help both members and the Union financially.

Having gone this far, she is determined the HKMU, and the music it provides, must never end.

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