16 Apr 2005 SSA Friendship Award Presented to President of Jamiyah Singapore
On April 16, distinguished guests and friends of SSA including director of the National Youth Council Mr Foong Hin Cheong, Singapore renowned musician Mr Iskandar Ismail, and representatives from the National Arts Council, Singapore Chinese Orchestra, People’s Association, were among the 1000-strong audience present for an evening of latin jazz music presented by renowned Jazz flautist and Latin Grammy Award winner Nestor Torres. An SGI-USA Arts Division member, Nestor Torres was invited by SSA for a three-day concert over the weekend of April 15 to 17.
At the meeting, SSA Chairman Ong Bon Chai presented the SSA Friendship Award to Mr Abu Bakar Maidin, President of Jamiyah Singapore. Mr Abu Bakar Maidin has been the mainstay of Jamiyah Singapore for the past 35 years since he became its President in 1970, and has contributed his utmost to the service of Jamiyah and the community in many ways. Amongst his various contributions was his appointment as the former President of the Inter-Religious Organization.
In his acceptance speech, Mr Abu Bakai shared, “The programmes of the Singapore Soka Association carried out through your youth and culture centres enhancing social harmony and upholding the Buddhist principle of respect for life, deserve warm commendation. As co-workers in the community service, we will be happy to support in the worthy work of SSA.”
On the finale night of April 17, SSA Chairman presented the SSA Golden Lion Award to Nestor Torres, in recognition of his sincere dedication and untiring efforts in advancing goodwill and cultural understanding that support the Soka Gakkai International peace movement. Ms Mary D’Elia, Nestor Torres’ road manager, was also presented with the Soka Women for Peace Award.
In addition, the Golden Lion Peace Award was presented to drummer Mr Tama Goh Yong Seng, and Certificates of Appreciation were presented to the other four musicians namely lead guitarist Mr Regi Leo, keyboard player Mr Mario Serio, Percussionist Faiser Jose Florez Quiroz, electric bass guitarist Mr Ignatuis Bong, and guest singer Ms Carolina Jirado. Shared Mr Ignatuis Bong, “I can see “peace” written on the faces of the audience, which are all glowing. This is something you seldom find somewhere else, and I think it accrues to your practice.”
Local famous musician Iskandar Ismail shared, “Music indeed has no boundaries. It is an international language. What SSA is doing is very good, breaking down language barriers and bringing in Nestor Torres from another part of the world to put up this wonderful show.”
Representative from the National University of Singapore Chinese Orchestra Gan Yeow Beng shared, “It is truly an inspiring concert. Nestor Torres does not just play the musical notes, but conveys messages about life through his music. These are important attitudes towards life, urging fellow human beings to help one another, and that the universe is infinite. I can see that he himself has a sound philosophy of life, and hence he is motivated to inspire others. Such cultural events arouse the awareness of people to look inwards into their lives and not just outwardly receiving the music. It also conveys a message of hope, peace and harmony.”
[Nestor Torres has been playing a mix of Latin, jazz and pop sounds for more than fifteen years. He was born in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, in 1957. He took flute lessons at age 12 and began formal studies at the Escuela Libre de Mica, eventually attending Puerto Rico’s Inter-American University. At 18, he moved to New York with his family. Torres went on to study both jazz and classical music at the Mannes School of Music in New York and the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, among other places. His Latin-jazz composition “Luna Latina” was nominated in 2000 for a Latin Grammy. A year later, he won a Latin Grammy for This Side of Paradise, a bittersweet victory given the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington at the time.”]on and Terror in the Global Village”.
(SSA Times issue 212)