|Music alumna wins cabaret competition|
June 24, 2003
When Yoly Tolentino wowed the judges of the 2003 San Francisco Cabaret Competition finals earlier this month with an inspired rendition of "Habanera" from the opera "Carmen," it brought her back to her days as an SFSU student.
"Habanera" was not only the first song Tolentino learned while attending SFSU in the early- to mid-1980s. It was also the first song she ever sang in front of an audience. At the cabaret competition, however, she wasn't nearly as nervous. In front of a full house at Herbst Theatre in San Francisco, she let it all out and raised the bar with a stirring performance of the Broadway classic "Don't Rain on My Parade."
It earned her the competition's award for Best Female Performer. She received a trophy, $250 and gigs at the Plush Room at the York Hotel in San Francisco and Copia Winery in Napa Valley.
Tolentino, 40, earned a bachelor's degree in music from SFSU in 1986. Her versatile singing style includes pop, opera, musical theater and rhythm and blues. She performs regularly at Bay Area clubs, restaurants, and public events.
Previously, she was in the original cast of the most recent Broadway production of "The King & I," in which she performed the role of Lady Thiang opposite celebrities such as Lou Diamond Phillips and Marie Osmond.
Following in the footsteps of fellow SFSU music alumna and Bay Area jazz stalwart Wesla Whitfield, Tolentino loves to sing cabaret. In fact, Tolentino has long admired Whitfield, who she finally met at the Cabaret Competition.
"During my sophomore year at State, I worked at Alvin's Coffee and used to serve coffee to her. It made me nervous," Tolentino said.
Tolentino plans to tour soon to Seattle and New York and work on writing screenplays.
"I will continue to be involved in the arts, on stage and behind the scenes, too," she said. "It's important that it touches people -- families and children of all ages. That's what keeps me going."
For more about Tolentino, visit her Web site.
1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132 (415)