by Biboy Payawal
August 17, it was a Monday evening, as traffic in Metro Manila was still busy-as-usual, the birthing of a new sound in the Philippines made its debut at one of the prestigious malls along Quezon Avenue—THE FISHERMALL. The album being launched—ONLY FOR YOU (A new Sound of Praise)—epitomizes the new sound of Filipino praise and worship.
The venue was packed with almost 200 people. Some went early to ensure their seats. Some grabbed copies of the album to be in front-row; while others were happy watching from the sidelines. The event was kicked off by DJ Dave Rustaquio, radio program host of Inspirations Unlimited of DZAS. It was followed by an inspiring message from the album’s Executive Producer, Fr. Nono Alfonso, SJ, who also has a radio program entitled Usapang Kapatid on DZMM. And then the launch…center stage was all set to receive the band of the night—PRESENCE.
PRESENCE started the evening with their song BE SEEN IN ME who’s guitar-driven riffs echoed thru the halls of the venue. This was followed by LET YOUR KINGDOM COME, a PRESENCE classic that defines their kind of music which then paved the way for the song IKAW, a more predictable yet catchy Tagalog tune that enticed the people to bop their heads and sang along. The song SIMPLE WORSHIP whose simplicity came with melodic chops from the band concluded the first set.
Then it was time for the special guest to perform…
Isabelle de Leon, the former child star who blossomed into a beautiful young lady, took the stage and serenaded the audience with the classic “You’ve Got a Friend” popularized by the late James Taylor. She rendered another song which was her original composition and lured the audience and to join her in singing “woohoohoo”.
The next set was up…
PRESENCE came back and rocked the song I AM YOURS whose message cried out “I am all Yours Lord!”. And as if it were really set out, Ptr. Brian Acosta, the band’s leader gave a heartfelt meaning to the album’s carrier single—IKAW LAMANG. He challenged the people and led them in prayer to put God first in their hearts. It was a lovely experience.
Finally, the time came for the title of the album to be put to life. ONLY FOR YOU, intended to be melodically simple with it’s three-piece band composition, set sail where the crowd was drawn by the song’s groove and meaning shouting “All for Your Glory, All for Your Name, Only for You”.
As the show ended, and everybody was still in high spirits from a successful event, PRESENCE left the stage only to be wooed by the audience—for more! The band in humility gave in to the request inviting all band members and guest to be on center stage to sing one of the band’s most interesting song in their arsenal—LAUGH SONG. People on and off stage burst into laughs and smiles as the crowd joined in the chorus singing a mighty HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!
For a non-secular music, slash band, slash album launching, this event turned out to go way beyond expectation. And yet, PRESENCE cries for ALL THE GLORY AND ALL THE HONOR be given to the LORD. For indeed, this album is…ONLY FOR YOU LORD!
We have all enjoyed experiencing the presence of God singing to and accompanied by classic sounds from the front-liners of Filipino praise and worship teams—and we still do. But in every season, the creator of music Himself (God), opens doors for something new…
PRESENCE as they call themselves, is a small group of young-hearted people with a passion for making music for the Lord. Their simple discography started in 2009 releasing their first single entitled PRESENCE. In 2011, they were part of a collaboration album where their original LET YOUR KINGDOM COME became the album’s title as well as carrier single.
In 2014, they released their second single entitled IKAW LAMANG. In 2015, a divine appointment and partnership was sealed between PRESENCE and a reputable organization JESUIT COMMUNICATIONS—both of which had the same vision—sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ thru music.