Paparapapa! McDo’s George Yang sings classics from the heart
Better very late than never.
Just ask George T. Yang, chair and founder of Golden Arches Development Corp., franchise holder of fastfood giant McDonald’s in the Philippines.
He was already in his 60s and on his way to retirement from corporate life when he discovered he had a talent for singing, one that he found pleasure in honing. And that talent led him to pursue classical singing with a passion.
“I first liked Broadway, but I then had an urge to challenge myself and conquer the classics. Several years and mentors later, I can say that my technique has improved. Until now, I do weekly rehearsals and training with my pianist,” says Yang, who has not lost the spring in his step.
“I like music and singing because they give me a certain kind of peace. Although I am known mainly for my business ventures, it is nice to introduce another part of myself to other people,” says Yang, who has a graduate degree in business administration from the Wharton School.
He concentrated on classical music or opera, even if it appeals to a decidedly smaller crowd, because of the “sincerity” that it embodies, one that he did not find in other genres.
“When an opera/classical music singer performs, you can really feel the emotions in the lyrics and the melody. It might be a personal preference, but I think that is what makes music beautiful. You listen to music that speaks to you. And for me, that is classical music,” explains Yang.
Yang considers it a blessing to have discovered his talent for singing, and he is paying it forward through the Klassikal Music Foundation, an artistic scholarship fund that provides financial assistance to aspiring and extraordinary young musicians in their quest to hone their talent in classical music.
One of the KMF’s popular scholars is Gerphil Flores, who was a runner-up in the Asia’s Got Talent competition and helped elevate the awareness of classical music.
“With KMF, we want to give talented individuals like Gerphil the opportunity to do what they are good at and share their talent with more people. I’m proud that we’ve had scholars who were invited to several shows overseas. This is something that we would like to sustain as we increase our scholars,” says Yang, who chairs KMF.
“We not only aim to give deserving students the chance to pursue their music degrees, but we also aim to increase the overall appreciation for classical music here in the Philippines,” he adds.
KMF regularly mounts shows to raise funds for KMF.
On Saturday, KMF’s “Songs From A Silver World with George Yang and the Klassikal Music” was staged at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium in RCBC Plaza, Makati. All proceeds will be going to the scholarship fund.
The show featuring popular songs from Hollywood movies was directed by internationally-acclaimed Filipino baritone Andrew Fernando and participated in by, among others, soprano Rachelle Gerodias, the KMF Chamber Orchestra, KMF Scholars, and Yang himself.
To further broaden awareness, KMF is also launching its social media accounts so that more people will get to know KMF and see how talented its scholars are.
Yang says he welcomes all opportunities to be able to perform and share his gift, but stresses he is nowhere near the professional level.
“I don’t intend to make money out of music. It is something I do for fun. Life is more than just business and money—it is really about pursuing one’s passion. Music has really enhanced my life and with KMF, I am happy to be able to give back,” says Yang.