Filipino international musical theater star Rachelle Ann Go performed the nationalist anthem “Bayan Ko” in honor of 2019 World Food Prize laureate Simon Groot during ceremonies held at the Iowa State Capitol Building in Des Moines.
Rachelle Ann Go was invited to grace the October 17 ceremony that “rivals that of the Nobel Prize”, drawing over 800 people from more than 75 countries and broadcast live statewide on Iowa Public Television.
Go was introduced by Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn as someone whose performance could tie all the “revolutions” happening in the Philippines at the time Simon Groot was in the country and as “an amazing singer from the Philippines starring in Hamilton in London” recommended by his daughter.
Ambassador Quinn noted how Groot went to the Philippines in the 1980s representing a time of many revolutions with World Food Prize connection:
The first World Food Prize recipient in 1987, Dr. Monkombu Sambasivan Swaminathan of India, was at the International Rice Research Institute in Los Banos, Laguna to preside over the continuation of the Green revolution in rice.
It was the time when the People Power Revolution with Corazon Aquino turned out the dictator and returned the country to democracy.
It was also when two Filipina teenagers – Lea Salonga and Monique Wilson – were signed up to star in the then-new musical, Miss Saigon.
Go first sang the Tagalog song, “Bayan Ko”, one of the songs highlighted during the People Power Revolution. The multi-awarded Filipino performer then sang a medley of popular songs from musical theatre: “I Dreamed a Dream” and “On My Own” (Les Miserables), “The Movie in My Mind” (Miss Saigon), and “Defying Gravity” (Wicked), before ending her music performance with “Rise Up” which received a standing ovation and extended applause.
Go thanked Groot for coming to the Philippines and helping farmers with his vegetable seed program as the World Food Prize laureate responded in Filipino, “Salamat po (Thank You)”.
Simon Groot founded East-West Seed in 1982 with business partner Benito Domingo in the Philippines and introduced the first locally developed commercial vegetable hybrids in tropical Asia. These varieties were fast-growing, high-yielding and resistant to local diseases and stresses.
Amb. Quinn refers to as a project that improved the livelihoods of millions, “As the use of his seeds spread throughout the Philippines and to Thailand, Indonesia and across Southeast Asia, farmers’ daily lives were uplifted and consumers benefited from greater access to nutritious vegetables. Mr. Groot, in effect, developed a stunningly impactful global network of seed producers who are transforming the lives of 20 million farmers in over 60 countries every year.”
WATCH Rachelle Ann Go perform at the World Food Prize 2019 and SEND her congratulations in the comments below for making the Filipino proud!
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