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Nedy Tantoco’s last concert for Cecile Licad is still happening — as a tribute to the late art patroness

When you say “last concert,” it implies a bit of sadness, nostalgia and perhaps, surrealism.

But for sure, this is one concert that will make viewers teary-eyed. It is a concert planned by Nedy Tantoco back in September of 2023. It turns out that will be the last concert dreamed of by Nedy for pianist Cecile Licad, whose concerts in Manila she had presented before. And it will become a tribute to Nedy instead, who passed away last Feb. 8. The concert is set for March 19 at the Metropolitan Theater.

How did this dream concert of Nedy become a reality?

During dinners, phone calls and text messages, Nedy talked about details with Sen. Loren Legarda for a possible partnership and support. It became a passion project for the two ladies, who have always been art and culture stalwarts.

“Of course, the idea of a Cecile Licad concert is wonderful,” Legarda says. By January this year, details had been mapped out. Gathering the support of forces in the Philippine cultural scene, Legarda worked for a close partnership with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra Society and her office.

The concert coincides with the celebration of National Women’s Month. “As we celebrate the world-class pianist Cecile Licad, it is also a fitting time for us to honor remarkable and empowered women like Nedy who tirelessly worked to promote Philippine culture and the arts, and provided opportunities for livelihood and growth,” Legarda emphasizes.

Nedy Tantoco was known in the Philippine retail industry as the pioneering leader in luxe retailing, having been chairperson and CEO of Rustan’s and Stores Specialists Inc. Group, where her visionary and astute professionalism was renowned.

But Nedy also was a patroness of the arts, a passion she manifested as trustee of the CCP and president of the Philippine Italian Association for years. Every time Licad came home to Manila for a concert, Nedy took care of everything, from airline travel to concert details. And always, Manila's culturati filled the CCP Main Theater.

Legarda is well known for her projects and advocacies in Philippine art and culture. She made