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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Pacquiao kind of singer

Martin Nievera, who is set to make history by becoming the first male to sing the National Anthem before a Manny Pacquiao fight, said the other day his dream is to emulate the Filipino boxing icon as a concert performer.

“My mission in life is to be a Manny Pacquiao kind of singer,” he said. “The kind that never says die and will never give up without a fight. That kind that always has a ‘hit,’ that will be heard all over the world and will be remembered for lifetimes to come.”

Nievera, a showbiz veteran of 26 years, has been tapped by Pacquiao himself to sing the Anthem before the five-time champion battles Ricky Hatton at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on May 2.

During the Holy Week break, Nievera sent Solar president Wilson Tieng an e-mail with an attachment of a private recording of two versions of the Anthem. Nievera started both versions in a semi-ballad fashion then picked up a marching beat before ending with a flourish. One version had Nievera closing with a high note, almost like a cheering yell, and the other with a subdued but firm conviction. How he will sing the Anthem could be a combination of both versions.

“Martin’s very excited,” said Jose Mari Ojeda. “He even sang a version of the Anthem on long distance telephone from Las Vegas. He wants to land the first punch on Hatton with a stirring delivery of our Anthem. I think he plans to kill Hatton softly with his song.”

Not a day passes that Nievera doesn’t practice singing the Anthem at home at least thrice. It’s not as if he needs to boost his confidence. Nievera has sung before mammoth crowds and high-profile celebrity audiences but singing the Anthem for a Pacquiao fight is an honor that comes with a huge responsibility.

Nievera said he is prepared to deal with any eventuality in the ring, including facing a woman who could sing the English Anthem of “God Save the Queen” in a revealing dress.

“If a lady of that sort shows up to sing for Hatton, I will be a gentleman and separate the ropes for her to pass through, trying hard not to sneak a peek down her cleavage then I will whisper in her ear these words, ‘you really look fat in that dress,’” chuckled Nievera who by the way, is taking his son Robin to watch the fight at ringside.

Nievera has made a name for himself in the Las Vegas show circuit. He once occupied the same suite where Frank Sinatra stayed during a series of concerts at the Golden Nugget. In fact, at the Nugget hall-of-fame walkway, there are photographs of the legendary singers who’ve performed at the Las Vegas landmark – including Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Nievera.

“I will be singing for 26 years this July,” said Nievera. “There are plans now to go in concert with Gary Valenciano. It will be music history. Araneta in September is the plan and a world tour follows. After which a tour with the mother of Robin and Ram.”

In June, Nievera will join a group of three American showbiz icons for a three-night concert run at the Sun Coast Hotel and Resort. Long-time Vegas headliner Clint Holmes, stage and movie actress Susan Anton, former Foreigner lead singer Domenick Zimmerman and Nievera are teaming up as “The Sing City Singers” on June 19, 20 and 21.

“They wanted something close to a Rat Pack kind of concept,” continued Nievera. “It’s an experiment formed by these three icons and to be added to their roster is truly an honor.”

Postscript: The Claret football school module for beginners and advanced boys and girls within the age range of 5 to 12 will begin tomorrow, April 15, on the Teachers Village field in Diliman, Q.C. The sessions are scheduled every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 7 to 8:30 a.m. until May 10. The program director is former UP champion and national coach Bob Salvacion assisted by his former players at UP and Claret – Anto Gonzales, Andrew Santiago, Frank Bambico, Topet Datu, Jay Manlunas, Steph Permales and Benj Anicete. The Claret football school has produced many UAAP and national players, including Ariel Zerrudo, Gonzales, Santiago and UAAP 2009 MVP Jed Rances, to name a few. For details, call Tel. Nos. 9216617, 9216587 and 0915-3100-552. The module focuses not just on playing skills but also values in character building.


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