The entertainment world has been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions causing the cancellation or postponement of events on stage, in theatres, outdoor and other venues. However, the passion of people for dancing, singing, playing musical instruments, acting and other performing arts has remained intense and vibrant. To pursue their passion, these artists participate in events held on online and virtual platforms.
Two Sydney Fil-Aus artists who have joined in and doing well in the virtual singing competitions are Jojo Sebastian and Zaebriel Orayenza.
Jojo Sebastian, 41 years old of inner south west suburb of Campsie, has thrown his hat in the World Championship of Performing Arts (WCOPA). In February 2020, he submitted his video for audition to represent and be a part of Team Australia for the World Championship of Performing Arts. A month later he was officially invited to represent Australia at the 24th annual World Championships of Performing Arts which was to be held on 21st of July – 2nd of August 2020 in Disneyland California USA
However, due to the pandemic, around 25th May the participants were informed that this year WCOPA was going virtual. They were also advised that they will also needed to resubmit their audition video by July 10, if they were interested to enter the virtual competition.
When asked how he got into the virtual singing competition, Jojo said:
"I did not intend to participate in the virtual competition at first. Until my family in Hawaii and John-John encouraged me to. So I submitted my one minute video in the last hour of 10th of July. I was notified that I passed the virtual audition on the 19th of July. The virtual competition is between 24th July and 1st August.
"Each team send a representative in various category. And for this year a video performance is being sent to be judge by a panel of experts.
"I have always wanted to try out for this since 2005. Ever since Jed Madela won multiple Gold Medals. I cannot believe I am now part of the competition.
So tomorrow, 1st August Jojo Sebastian will know if his rendition of "A Million Dreams" from the movie The Last Showman wins to add to his many other accolades. However regardless of the result of the competition, he has been invited and he has accepted to join the WCOPA Live in California 2021, to be held in Disneyland and Hollywood. So he is keeping fingers crossed that by mid next year overseas travel would be resumed.
The other artist, 11 year old Zaebriel Orayenza of Plumpton a Sydney's western suburb, has won the pre state finals of Take The Mic competition. The competition opened in April this year, and Zaebriel auditioned online via Take the Mic Website.
Shown on livestream on TV on 5th July, Zaebriel sang Stone Cold by Demi Lovato in the audition and the pre finals. This secured her place in the state finals. For the State finals, Zaebriel did Rise Up by Andra Day. The winners will be announced by mid August.
The State winners of the competition will win singing/dancing/acting coaching and Career Consultation. The National winner will win an experience with James North Productions including the creation, development of the artist's very own original song professionally recorded and mastered, all worth $10,000.
Zaebriel said: “I am very nervous because I know that there are a lot of competitors all over Australia, but excited at the same time because I am confident that I’ve done my best. I know I can win.”
Both Jojo and Zaebriel are well-known to the Fil-Aus and the wider community.
Jojo performs in fundraising community events and performs as support act to visiting artists from the Philippines. He was the recipient of the 2019 Best Pageant Host award by the Australian Golden Sash Awards as he had hosted about 18 beauty pageants over two years. He also received the Most Influential Person of the Year in the Ava’s World Magazine Annual Awards in the same year, to name a couple of his recognition. He has been a regular guest of Radio Tagumpay and other community radio shows, and featured in The Australian Filipina and other publications. In addition to his stellar presence in the entertainment world, Jojo is a frontliner in his role as the Nursing Unit Manager of a government hospital.
Zaebriel is equally known for her performances in various community events and also holding her own concert two years ago. Recently she has wowed audiences in South Korea during the School of Rock (SOR) season there in August - September 2019 , where she played one of the major characters, Tomika. After Korea, she also played Tomika in the SOR Sydney season held in The Capitol Theatre during November - December 2019. She was selected to also perform the same role in Adelaide in March 2020 but due to the pandemic, the show has been postponed to an undetermined date.
The Australian Filipina wishes Jojo and Zaebriel all the best in their respective competition. Having reached the stage of their competitions, they are already winners in their followers' eyes.