Sessions on 25th Street set to charm OPM fans

Posted: 10/22/2012 in Entertainment


Sessions on 25th Street set to charm OPM fans

Net 25’s musical talk show to mark 1st year with concert

TV viewers who like to spend their Sunday evenings surfing channels have likely run into this new program from Net 25—and caught an OPM star or two singing their biggest hits. And it looks like more and more viewers are tuning in.

The musical talk show Sessions on 25th Street is steadily gaining recognition among viewers for featuring some of OPM’s biggest names and most promising acts every Sunday night. In its first two seasons, the show has had the likes of Jaya, Jay-R, Yeng Constantino, Jim Paredes, Sponge Cola and Hajji Alejandro as guests, who shared their stories and jammed their hits with host Ernie Magtuto.

The show has likewise gained the attention of the local industry, having been nominated in the Best Musical/Variety Show category in this year’s PMPC Star Awards for TV. To mark its 1st year on-air and kick off its 3rd season, the show will be holding a special free concert on October 28 at Eastwood Mall.

According to host Ernie Magtuto, the show is tailor-made for fans of all kinds of OPM. “At Sessions, we really put the spotlight on the guests. We give them the luxury of time to talk about their projects, their views and their plans, and this is something that both the guests and the viewers appreciate,” he explains.

Ernie adds that unlike other music programs that are geared towards a specific genre, Sessions caters to a wide variety of styles and sounds—its guests have ranged from rock groups (Sponge Cola and Callalily) and reggae acts (Tropical Depression) to balladeers (Marco Sison and Jed Madela), pop divas (Jaya and Geneva Cruz), R n’ B artists (South Border), singer-songwriters (Aiza Seguerra and Noel Cabangon) and even international artists (Marie Digby).

“Each viewer will definitely find something in the show that they will enjoy. Hopefully, the show’s variety will inspire music fans to discover and appreciate more genres,” says Ernie.

Ernie himself is no stranger to the industry, with two decades of experience as a performer, producer, arranger and composer, and he is most known for having been the musical director for The New Minstrels. Ernie often accompanies Sessions guests on the piano, and he says that being the host and performer—as well as the arranger of many of the performed songs—on Sessions is no easy task.

“Handling the music direction and hosting at the same time is quite a tall order, and I think I still have room to grow as a TV host,” he says with candor. “But I think that improvement will come as long as I keep on enjoying interacting with my guests, and I believe that this feeling will rub off on viewers.”

Ernie stresses that the show aims to feature not just popular artists, but also up-and-coming and unsigned acts. “We want to give exposure to new acts and help them to share their music with OPM fans,” he says. The show has featured the likes of young singer Myrus, who first gained attention on YouTube, and veteran songwriter Toto Sorioso, who has since bagged first prize in the 1st Phil Pop Music Festival.

For the show’s 1st anniversary concert, Ernie will be joined by a special co-host, Apple Chiu of “Singing Bee” and “Philippine Idol” fame, who had also been a guest on the program. “Aside from being such a talented singer, Apple is also a very engaging personality, and she will definitely add excitement to our concert,” remarks Ernie.

Big names have been lined up for the show, including Jay Durias, Juris, Luke Mejares and Lani Misalucha, with Ernie saying that it will be a live version of Sessions on 25th Street. “We want to mark our 1st anniversary and kick off our new season with a bang, and we’re thrilled to have such huge stars joining us on October 28.”

“We’ve had a wonderful year, and we’re thankful and fortunate to have long-time friends in the industry such as Hajji and the New Minstrels who supported us when we started,”
says Ernie. “This free concert is our way of thanking the viewers who have tuned in this past year, and we want to let them know that we still have many more great things in store for them.”

Few of the featured artists from the past seasons:


Jaya Duncan and Jay-R



Jim Paredes Geneva Cruz Nina Gian Magdangal


Noel Cabangon Jed Madela

Ernie Magtuto


A seasoned musician, Ernie Magtuto has over twenty years experience in the industry as a performer, composer, arranger, producer and music director, and has collaborated with some of the most respected names in OPM.

He began his career playing keyboards for a cover band before getting his first big break as the music director of The New Minstrels in 1987. Numerous stints abroad as a session player followed, along with a long string of jingle writing, film scoring, and musical theater projects, including being tapped as music arranger at the Metropop Music Festival.

Before taking the helm as the host and musical director of Sessions on 25th Street, Ernie had a second stint as musical director of The New Minstrels, and opened his own recording studio, EM1.

Ernie’s milestones include:

Composer, Musical Arranger – “Singdangal!” (December 2007), a musical staged at SM Mall of Asia Theatre and televised over Studio 23. Featured artists include Monique Wilson, Jolina Magdangal, Tessie Tomas, Leo Martinez, Jeffrey Hidalgo, etc. Lyrics written by Ricky Lee

Musical Director, “Minsan, Magpakailanman” (30 May 1998) a musical presentation featured during the summit of PICPA (Phil. Inst. Of Certified Public Accountants) presidents held at the grand ballroom, Holiday Inn, Angeles, Pampanga

Musical Director, “Apatnapung Taon” (August 1998) a musical presentation featured during SM Shoemart, Inc.’s 40th. Anniversary held at the grand ballroom, Shangrila, Makati

Music Director/Vocalist, The Dreamgirls with Ernie (Oct. 1997-March 1998), with performances at Holiday Inn and Sheraton Walker Hill, Seoul, Korea

Music Arranger, 1997 Metro Manila Popular Music Festival Grand Finals sponsored by GMA (channel 7) Foundation, Inc.

Song Entries: “Ako’y Maghihintay”– Boy Christopher, songwriter; Dessa, interpreter

“Utang”- Jeff Roxas, songwriter and interpreter

Musical Director/ Film Scorer, “Tawagin Mo Na Ang Lahat Ng Santo” (Dec. 1996- Jan. 1997), action film produced by MC Arce/ Mecca Films featuring Jeric Raval, Tony Ferrer, Mark Gil; directed by William Mayo

Musical Director, “Reputasyon” (July 1996), drama film produced by Re- Ichi films Intl. featuring Miya Nolasco, Amalia Fuentes and Romeo Vasquez; directed by Elwood Perez

Music Director/Keyboardist, WISEGUYS male quartet (Dec. 1995- Feb. 1996), Warner Music Phils.

Music Director/Arranger, SM Shoemart production with Basil Valdez (1995)

Music Director, “Sharon Towards A New Era” (July 1993), a concert featuring Ms. Sharon Cuneta together with the New Era Voices held at the Meralco Theater

Music Arranger/ Songwriter/ Jingle producer (1990- present), released works are as follows:

· Tupperware Brands (2009) – 30 sec. original music bed

· BlareHall (Rustan’s Supermarket) Radio jingle (2003)

· P.O.E.A. Theme (2003)

· Glori Supermart jingle (2002)

· Alice Herrera campaign jingle for Vice mayoralty, Q.C. (2001)

· Korgivit jingle (1997)

· “Bakit Ba Kay Rami Ng Babae” (1996), released under Ivory records

· “AlaAla” (1992), released under Dyna records

· PCI bank Fasteller jingle (1991)

· “Okey Lang” (1991), recorded by Camille Victoria released under Ivory records

· arranged numerous cover version albums released under Dyna records

Music Director/ Keyboardist, The New Minstrels (1987- 1990) with performances at Kachina Lounge, Century Park Sheraton, Manila; Horizon Hotel, Jakarta, Indonesia; Kasbah Lounge of Mandarin Hotel, Singapore; directed numerous shows and concerts of the group in prominent venues of Manila and Cebu.




Apple Chiu

Apple Chiu is a talented singer and theater actress, who is best known for being a finalist on Philippine Idol and for becoming a regular member of the pool of singers also known as “The Songbees” in ABS-CBN’s top-rated game show “THE SINGING BEE.”

But the season finale of The Singing Bee wasn’t actually the finale of Apple’s career. Aside from playing the role of “Mother Dance” at PAGCOR’s musical play Flow, she went on hitting the road to promote her self-titled album, “Apple Chiu” under the distribution of Polyeast Records.

Immediately after The Singing Bee she got an offer to become one of the “Primera Biriteras” of TV5’s newest and first ever Sunday interactive variety game show called “PO5” followed by another game show called “LUCKY NUMBERS”.


She’s now busy with theater and became part of the longest running Rogers and Hammerstein musical in Asia, The Sound of Music and played the role of Sister Berthe. She also played “Waitress #1” in the Atlantis’ production of Rock of Ages. She’s currently doing the Resorts World Manila’s production of The King and I, playing the role of the headwife, Lady Thiang.










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