of an angel

MUSIC, they say, is the speech of angels. Pamela Erika Pascua may not be an angel, but, oh, she sings like one, just like Alexis Edralin, both possessing God-gifted voices.

I have heard Alexis sing many times in song recitals. In Pamela’s case I heard her sing only in a recording of classical songs, a CD sent to me by my favorite operatic diva Fides Cuyugan Asensio. "Do listen to it," Fides said. "She had no formal vocal technique training at all, and I was truly amazed."

"Yes, she sings like an angel," I told Fides, after listening to the recording of then 15-year-old Pamela’s first song recital in Bacolod City last year. It was for the benefit of the Forum Against Cancer for Encouragement and Support (FACES). She herself is a cancer victim, whose right leg has been amputated. And she is going to sing again, this time at a "Love Concert": to be held tonight, 7 p.m., at St. Cecilia’s Hall of St. Scholastica’s College in Manila. She’ll be the last to sing, preceded by a galaxy of sopranos, tenors, baritones, pianists, instrumentalists and other artists in our world of music.

The concert, a joint presentation of St. Scholastica’s College of Music and the Music Theater Foundation, is a fund drive for the benefit of Pamela and Alexis, now 25, NAMCYA first-prize winner, then a voice student of the College of Music, University of the Philippines, grand-daughter of Max Edralin, journalist turned publicist. Alexis, who’s suffering from leukemia, won’t be able to sing tonight. She just had her fourth chemotherapy treatment at the Makati Medical Center.

Pamela was stricken with cancer of the muscle in 2004, but she has not been daunted by the debilitating rare disease nor has it dampened her spirit. Her passion to sing is her gift of life. Now 16, for her life has to go on. She is deeply involved in the Bukas Loob Sa Diyos Charismatic Community Movement, singing in the Youth Group Choir, in weddings and special gatherings of friends and family.

According to Pamela’s mother Nelly, even as a baby she already hummed herself to sleep. And as early as three years old she had started having voice lessons under Sister Visitacion Arnaldo, a Benedictine nun, who first heard her sing the highest note in the musical scale. From then on, she won in singing contests in Bacolod City.

In July 2004, doctors discovered that Pamela had developed a lump on her right leg. They removed it in her first operation. The following year in December 2005, she had to undergo a second operation when the lump recurred. And then last December 2006, the lump reappeared and had gone up her extremities, and this time the doctors amputated her leg up to her knee.

A Scholastican in her elementary and high school in Bacolod City, Pamela and her mother moved to Manila to be near the Philippine General Hospital for her chemo treatment. She’s now enrolled in the music department of St. Scholastica’s College where the Scholastican Sisters, like those in Bacolod City, have been faculty and administrators and have been supportive of the highly-gifted Pamela. She has been using her God-given voice with a passion to share it with people.

Pamela still has a long way to go, and, with prayers and modern medicine, she can continue singing classical songs, like the "Light of a Million Mornings," her signature song in her CD recording, with its beautiful and moving lyrics to the glory of God:

"I couldn’t see the sunshine through the shadows.

"I couldn’t seem to find a soul to care.

"Then, in the darkest hour, you touched me with your power, and when I looked your light was everywhere.

"The light of a million mornings filled my heart.

"The sound of a million angels sang my song.

"The warmth of a love so tender touched my life, and suddenly the light of a million mornings dawned in me!

"I never tried to understand a sunshine.

"I only know it takes away the dark.

"I can’t explain your healing or all the joy I’m feeling.

"I only know you’ve come into my heart….

"And now that your glory has come shining through, let my life be a candle, Lord, that shines for you …

"The light of a million mornings has dawned – in me!"

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