He was captivated by a single photo where the mother, with pain palpable on her face, was saying her last goodbyes to her bui-doi. It was but a single picture, of emotions caught on a flash, that immortalized her and fired-up the imagination of one French and the world of musical theatre. His name is Claude Michel Schonberg.
My first memory of Schonberg was of him playing the piano. He was with Lea Salonga, while she tried out the strains, in her melodious voice, of Sun and Moon. They were on TV as Saigon specials were aired every day. Every little girl at that time wanted to be Lea Salonga. From obscurity (in the global sense), Schonberg brought the Philippines and Lea to the forefront of musical history.
My last memory of him was of one Sunday afternoon, four years ago. He was sitting across from me, while strings were playing and the Sofitel dessert tempted us from the distance.
I asked him how he came to be him.
He smiled. Eyes looked at me, at once twinkling and sorrowful, with the wisdom of one hundred years.
Passion, he said.
At that time, I did not know “passion”. It is only now that I realize that it has been touted by financial gurus way back as the single most important ingredient for success. With passion, a person cannot fail. With it, a person can fly. With the hunger to become better, a person will become better, everyday.
Schonberg told me that he had a love affair with music as long as he can remember. He played the piano every day, sheet after sheet after sheet. “You have to live it, breathe it, be it. It should be as if you cannot live without it.” He spoke with so much love for his music. Yes, this man knew, knows, passion. His only regret is that his mother did not live long enough to see him succeed.
He then asked me, “What is it you want?” I could not answer. Nothing would satisfy the man but the truth. “I do not know.”
I stepped out of Sofitel that day a little puzzled, a little unsettled. He had started a fire and I wanted to know – what is it that I could not live without?
A few years into my path, I knew.
Do you want to be rich? Learn from the very best.
Article by Issa. Art by D. Copyright 2009.
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