Tony Zapata strives to support Asian American artists through D.I.C.E. show “Voice Strings II”

Examiner Contributor

Showcasing the talents of Asian American artists and providing them with the highest level of public exposure is the dream and goal of Tony Zapata, founder of Diversified International Cultural Entertainment (D.I.C.E).

“I love seeing people succeed and having the opportunities to showcase their crafts or talents,” Zapata said.

Established in Seattle earlier this year, D.I.C.E intends to preserve and promote Asian American culture through professional presentation in the arts, music and other forms of entertainments.

“D.I.C.E’s mission is to inspire Asian American artists to cultivate their roots through musical expression, and empowering their audiences with culturally-influenced experiences,” said the founder.

To help celebrate Filipino American Heritage Month, D.I.C.E.’s first show, “Voice Strings II,” is scheduled for Oct. 21 at Benaroya Hall’s Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall.

“We will highlight the top three Filipino American artists in Seattle, and hope to develop a concept of strings and vocalists for the audiences,” Zapata said.

Performers include: jazz pianist Victor Noriega, winner of last year’s Emerging Artist Golden Ear Awards; Stephanie Reese, who played the title role of Kim in Europe’s “Miss Saigon” and was rated as the entertainer of the year at the second Annual Asian Pacific Trade Show of 2005 in Las Vegas; Angelo Pizarro, guitar virtuoso and composer; and 12-year-old emerging vocalist Gaby Borromeo.

“Audiences will walk away entertained and inspired,” Zapata said. “This show is not about money, but bringing great talents to the market.”

Zapata expects more than 500 people to attend the concert, packing the 540-seat capacity recital hall.
“Only approximately 100 tickets were left after the tickets went on sale for two hours,” he said.

Organizing the event was no easy task. It took Zapata more than six months to plan.

“Besides promoting our concert in different communities, we also spent time on seeking community sponsorship. Fortunately, we gained great support from the Filipino community and received sponsorship from the radio channel, KWJZ 98.9,” said the D.I.C.E founder.

Partial funding for the event comes from Zapata’s company, Kabayan Cargo Express, which mainly assists Filipino Americans to send care packages back home to the Philippines.

Zapata knows that somehow his efforts will pay off.

“I am sure that we will put up a great show as we have very talented artists in the same place at the right time, and they are all passionate about music. I can’t wait to see them shine on stage,” Zapata said.

As for future goals, the D.I.C.E founder said he would love to offer an annual local Asian American music award, similar to the Grammy Awards, especially considering that Asian American artists are often underrepresented in the mainstream music industry.
He would also like to turn D.I.C.E into an international company, producing shows in the Philippines, Hong Kong and Asia in general.

Zapata hopes that someday D.I.C.E will become reputable enough to foster goodwill between artists of all cultures and successfully develop a foundation for music and all art forms.
“I would love being able to give back and not taking too much from the community.”

Tickets are on sale for $35 through Ticketmaster and at Benaroya Hall’s box office. Contact Tony Zapata at [email protected] for more information..

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