By MARIA ALETA NIEVA
At a very young age, Eva Rose Sabiniano has become an inspiration to many. She not only brought her talents to greater heights of recognition but used her music to reach out to those in need. "Her goal is to use her talents to minister to people – introduce them to Jesus Christ and be a good example to other kids," said her father Eddie Sabiniano. At 11, Eva Sabiniano holds the distinction of being the first Filipino to be nominated in the 23rd Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards 2007-2008 in the "Children's Performance of the Year" category last January. She is in her sixth grade in Lynnwood, Washington. She was also nominated in the 2008 Newsome Gospel Music Awards for "Children's, Choir, Group, or Duo of the Year" category and was named as the champion in the Filipino Community of Seattle Asian American Idol in September 10, 2006.
For Eva, success is not the only source of personal and spiritual happiness. She realized that her mission in life is more than just to entertain and minister people to be close to God but to actually be His instrument to help children in need of assistance.Such a great task for a kid barely in her teens but Eva believes that with God by her side, nothing is impossible."I want them to know Jesus Christ. Because God is the key that can make us happy, humble, learn how to love and bring peace into this world," Eva said. Her determination to actually do something to help children was inspired by an incident a few years back. Her parents Vivian and Eddie recounted a time when Eva was singing at the Ronald Methodist Church as a guest performer.
"When Eva was singing, she saw this five-year-old girl named Mindy who was dancing. Eva was so touched with this kid's physical situation. When the service ended, we talked to Mindy's parents and found out that she has been diagnosed with brain cancer and needed financial help," Mr. Sabiniano said. Touched by Mindy's condition and the courage her parents showed despite the family's trials, Eva decided to release her first Christian single "Starlight, Starbright" in September 2006 with portions of the proceeds donated to Mindy for her treatment. She also realized that her cause would not end after helping Mindy. "Our family was watching TFC one night and there's one segment there of Bantay Bata 163 that got her attention. She saw a mother cradling her very sick baby and asking television viewers for help," Mr. Sabiniano said. After watching the program, her parents said they noticed Eva suddenly became quiet and even saw tears in her eyes. That night, before going to sleep, Eva included the mother and the child in her prayers. "The next morning before going to school, Eva talked to me and asked me how we can help the poor children in the Philippines. I said pray about it and maybe God will give you wisdom to use your talents and that's how her first Born to Praise album came out. She wants all the money from this album to go to needy children," said Mr. Sabiniano.
Singing for the less fortunate
The "Born to Praise" album was released in March 2007 and composed of 10 tracks including her first single Starlight, Starbright. The other tracks are "You got me hooked on you"; "Jesus is always with you"; "Thank you again Mom and Dad"; "The time for Jesus is now"; "When I'm in denial"; "Move your body"; "Thank you"; "Jesus is the way to heaven"; "Pasko ng Isang Ulila".
Her album is now available at Music Zone and BCS Music Center in Victoria Plaza, Davao City and iTunes and cdbaby.com. Likewise, Eva decided that portion of the proceeds of her album will go to her ministry and help needy children. in 2007, the family visited the Philippines and got closer to orphaned kids under the care of Bantay Bata 163 in Davao City.
More than just singing
"Before she just wanted to sing and perform. But now, she will do anything to raise money like selling candies in school, saving her school allowance and sing in any events where she can ask for donations and sell more of her CD's to continue supporting the orphanage," her father said.
"I will continue to support Bantay-Bata 163. My goal is to help needy children around the Philippines and God willing also around the world," said Eva.
Eva's talent in singing started when she was three years old. Her father, a musician himself, said Eva always watched his band perform and would sometimes sing a couple of songs to the crowd.
"She is not shy while performing in front of many people. Her older sister Eden is one of her mentors and also her voice teacher Cecile Azarcon. She's very involved at the music ministry in the church. But she has her own style of singing," a proud Mr. Sabiniano said.
She has shown her singing prowess in some major concerts like that of Kuh Ledesma and the South Border. She also performed at the Pista sa Nayon, special Church events and fundraising activities."I'm overwhelmed. I've been a musician for 27 years. I played with some big stars from the Philippines, but never had my own album. I hear my song in 50 radio stations, got nominated in any awards. But we believe all of this will not be possible if not for God and these are all His favors. Eva’s main purpose is to minister people to know Jesus Christ," said Mr. Sabiniano.
Her parents describe her as a humble girl who loves to make friends and help people. When not in school or serving the Charisma Christina Center in Lynnwood, Eva spends time with her friends. At home, she plays her Nintendo DS or watches television. Sometime she baby sits her sister's kids or just stays with her family. And how does she achieve all of these? "Whatever she does, we guide her and support her. But we make sure that she knows how to balance everything and enjoy what she's doing," the father said.
Her talent is not only in singing, as Eva is also into playing drums--like her older brother Edward—and playing the piano. She composes songs, does hip-hop dancing and the arts. She is also busy doing acting and modeling classes and preparing to meet international agents from Hollywood and Disney. "I thank God for having Eva in our family. We are very blessed. She's been a good example not only for many people, also for us. We are very proud of her, for at such a young age she taught us a lot already about helping people and how to be close as a family," he said. "God willing, hopefully she'll make it. She wants to be seen in the mainstream and be a good role model to the young people," he said.
Her busy schedules include a 7 p.m. performance at The Lake Café (9015 Vernon Road, Lake Stevens, WA) on July 11, 2008; Pista sa Nayon (Seward Park, Seattle, WA) at 1 p.m. on July 27, 2008; Summer Blast (Lake Stevens, WA) at 12 p.m. on August 16, 2008; and her Born to Praise Concert to be held at 7 p.m. in Vancouver BC, Canada on August 23, 2008.
"I'm grateful and very blessed. I thank the Lord everyday for creating me and giving me this gift that I can share to others and used it for God's glory," she said. As for her message to readers, Eva says: "Praise God for this opportunity! God made all of us with unique and special talents. Just believe and ask for wisdom, together we can make a big positive impact on the world. Thank you so much. Please continue praying for me and supporting my ministry. God bless you all...Mabuhay Pinoy!?"