September 19,2007, the Out of the Box production team and the cast of Siddhartha joined the mass and gathering ending the nine-day novena for the man who conceived of the idea to produce a musical about Prince Siddhartha, Sir Eden Tantiansu. He's passing may have been sudden but he left a legacy benefiting many particularly, the artists who are part of the production and the audience who have seen the play and will still see the play in Manila come November.
During the gathering at Casino Espanol family and friends spoke about how he pushed to make the musical a reality through Buddha's Light Intl. Association where Eden's wife, Susan, serves as president and Master Chueh Lin as chapter head . Jude Gitamondoc, the playwright and composer of Siddhartha revealed how Sir Eden helped him become involved in BLIA's other projects specifically, the songwrting contest regularly done by the group. It was this contest that paved the way for the creation of the musical where Jude's winning pieces were compiled together with other creations of local composers which were all based in the poetry of Venerable Master Hsing Yun. To complete the musical Jude had to compose new songs and work with Out of The Box artistic director Daisy Ba-ad to bring life to the musicale and the rest, as they say, is history.
The highlights of the gathering included the performance of the song interpreters of this year's winning pieces of Joseph Abella and Jude in the persons of Wendy Prado and Levin Inez who are both members of the Siddhartha cast. Ba-ad, who spontaneously became the emcee of the night, gave some insights on how the play came to be before introducing each number. The audience was thrilled and supportive of the group who represented the musicale in Taiwan composed of BLIA members Ben Chua, Susan Tan and Susan Tantiansu (wife of Eden who did not join the performance for obvious reasons) together with Levin's mother and aunt, Jude and the orignial cast members Wendy, Levin and Benjie Layos. The group was acknowledged for their efforts as their performance in Taiwan was such a success that the scheduled single performance multiplied to 7 performances in 3 different cities and 7 different audiences including the worldwide convention of Buddhist monks.
Joy Benedicto, sir Eden's niece, later revealed in her speech that because of the Taiwan excerpt BLIA Cebu received intvitations for the play to be brought to New York, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan and Taiwan and that the family is indeed overwhelmed by how one man's vision two years ago has now become a legacy touching the lives of people around the world.
The tribute ended with Eden's daughters Edisa and Mysue leading the heartfelt singing of The Noble Path (sir Eden's favorite song in the musicale) where cast members slowly joined in and then segued to the song We are One which summarizes one basic truth that no race, nor culture, nor tradition, nor religion, not even death can deny --- "Let there be “us” We belong and co-exist together No matter where we’re coming from Like sister moon and brother sun We’ll stop the gloom as long as we are one" ---- lines made real during the tribute to the jolly big man who knew how to make dreams come true -- Sir Eden Tantiansu.
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