Student Trainers (STRAINS) shifted into high gear and into the hyperspace as they gave the ID 121 frosh and transferees a formal and virtual welcome to Benilde with “UNITE 2021: Back to the Future,” the annual solidarity concert live streamed via their official Facebook page on Oct. 29.
A UNITE to remember
Hosted by Cherry Mendoza, ID 120 Travel and Tourism Management student, and Shaine Serrano, ID 119 Interior Design student, the night began with performances from Benildean homegrown talents. ID 119 Matthew Auditor (A.V.D.I.) performed “Friends,” Wait for You,” and a cover of American R&B vocal trio SVW’s “Weak.” SINODA, on the other hand, performed their original compositions “Places” and “Castaway.”
Lastly, the opening set of performers concluded with electrifying dance performances from Saint Benilde Romancon Dance Company (SBRDC) Hip-hop and Contemporary.
Br. Edmundo “Dodo” Fernandez FSC formally welcomed the new batch of Benildeans with his opening remarks. “In Benilde, learning is borderless. We learn and develop not only through classes. But through the many events and programs that you have such as UNITE. Just as the name suggests, this is your time for your batch to know each other and unite. [...] As your journey begins, we look forward to hearing your stories as you uncover many paths as blazers in your crafts; and as you get to use your gifts to build a just and humane society, may you celebrate and discover your roles as Benildens in these extraordinary times.”
With the night not nearly over, Filipino cover band The Strays performed their renditions of “Permission To Dance” by K-pop boy band BTS, “Pagsisisi” by Bandang Lapis, and “Languyin” by Autotelic. Vocalist Karl Cedrick “Ced” Marquez stated in a video message, “It has always been our wish and dream to perform that song kasi sobrang meaningful talaga ng kanta para sa amin. And ‘yung impact niya from the lyrics, style, and approach, talagang iba ang epekto sa amin. Sinabi namin sa sarili namin na kapag nabibigyan kami ng pagkakataon talagang i-pe-perform namin ‘yung song na yun, through our own way.”
Meanwhile, Pixie Labrador, Filipina singer-songwriter and Benildean alumna, performed an intimate set in the vein of NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Concert, and gave serenading renditions of American singer-songwriter Beyoncé’s “Crazy in Love” and American singer-songwriter Mary Lambert’s “She Keeps Me Warm.”
As an artist, Labrador challenges the underrepresentation of sapphic OPM through her songs that talk about queer love and heartbreak. She also showcased her original compositions “What’s It Like,” “You Are (feat. Eren Lee),” and “Varsity Crush.”
With an appearance courtesy of Widescope Entertainment, the all-girl band Catharsis rocked out with their original compositions “Hakbang” and “For The Meantime.”
Heading towards the major acts of the night, Benildeans surely were ready for the BINIverse. Under ABS-CBN’s Star Magic, the eight-member Filipino girl group BINI performed “Born to Win,” the lead single off their debut album of the same name.
Meanwhile, the four-piece indie pop band Motion Picture Blur reminded us of the soundtracks of an indie movie scene when they performed their songs “Cherry” and “Marianne.”
Six-piece Filipino rock band Lola Amour also made a splash in this year’s UNITE. The band performed their latest release “Fallen,” their previously-released single “Please Don’t Leave,” and the fan-favorite “Pwede Ba.”
To cap off a night full of energetic virtual performances, Manila-based artist DJ Sev Laudico brought in the illest and most tantalizing beats to make sure that it was a night to remember for ID 121 frosh and transferees.
Relive “UNITE 2021: Back to the Future” on STRAINS’ official Facebook page.