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By Li Eron
Hamilton-Ontario, Canada
May 11, 2016


Hamilton is far and the invitation came a little late plus one of our cars broke down. I was about to cancel it but the cancellation may also came too late on the morning of the event. I was thinking about taking the train which what I really did if only to join the Garrido family in Hamilton. I don’t want to miss a milestone with one of the darlings in the community as she turns 18- Shairah Garrido.

Photo: Garrido family, with debutant daughter, Shairah (3rd from right)

I've occasionally followed Alma Garrido's timeline and check on this family every now and then.

Wait, I'm not a stalker as alleged by someone teasing me. I'm a writer who must know and feel the heart beats of my community; the people, the events. That's when I knew that their daughter Shairah Garrido is celebrating her debut plus the family just recently became permanent residents of Canada.

What's my connection to this family? Not so much as being close but looking back at that one moment when Shairah Garrido came from Hamilton to Courtice and support my fundraising project to support a friend diagnosed with cancer whom they also knew. This was also the event that I first heard Shairah Garrido's voice and that of her younger sister delivering melancholic songs fitted for the occasion to entertain the guests. So being invited to attend a special family gathering is a privilege for me.

I'm not comfortable taking transit but Oshawa's GO train is comfy and less congested for a Saturday trip towards Appleby station where Fienness' father will pick me up. As I purchased my train ticket, I was told not to change lines. On weekends, GO trains will travel direct to Appleby station.

So off I went on an almost empty train to Appleby and joined the Mendoza family the rest of the afternoon as we waited to attend the event. The Mendoza's were also invited.

I'm not a person big on irrelevant details. But I must have the grasp of what is going on with this family on their public social media accounts, preferably Facebook where a proud family announces their becoming permanent residents of Canada. I also knew that Shy Garrido took home a trophy from her trip in Chicago with BR Xpression as Best Soloist and the Maestro Award with World Strides on stage April 2016. It’s quite an achievement for a vocalist known across the community and on the wider stage.

The event venue was classy at Michelangelo Banquet Hall in Hamilton, Ontario which was properly decorated to showcase a private function. It feels more important when you are among the few people being allowed to sit, be served and be able to witness an unfolding event on such a private moment. You have the tendency to want to know them more.

There were other guests especially the Matriarch of JDL- Josie De Leon School of Performing Arts, Josie De Leon and hubby Mark Crescini whom Shairah Garrido started her foundations in music and as a performer. Other young and aspiring artists were also there dressed up for the occasion and performed. Some of those performers were Elle Delizo (photo below) and Melissa Manaig. There were also classmates of Shairah Garrido who did a duet for the celebrant.

In occasions like this, there are always poignant moments and if you wondered where the Garrido siblings got their incredible voices is from their mother who rendered two songs for the evening; the 18th roses when Shairah dances with his father and as she offered a song for the family.

Imagine I was not able to detect it was a live rendition by Shairah's mom, Alma Garrido until I turned around and saw Mrs. Alma Garrido singing the music live.

The Garrido family is blessed with five musically inclined children. I think these are the best gifts a wonderful mother like Mrs. Garrido could ever have and to see through the silver linings in life despite the many hindrances, difficulties and tests in life we all endure. Immigrants like them, like us, we sometimes suffer life's punches and atrocities but we all know that Filipino families look up to each other to find strength and utilized God's given gift of music to its full potential.

Shairah Garrido, along with her other siblings who are blessed with the gift of music can always look forward to the spotlights on stage be it alone or with the rest of her siblings. After all, they have the instinct to sing as Mrs. Alma Garrido has shown to us. For Shairah Garrido, hold the family torch and like those many performances you've rendered. I won't be surprised if one day I’ll be sitting among the crowd watching the curtain rises in one of your future concerts.


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