Saturday, March 16, 2013
FIL-AM TEEN PACKS BIG VOICE IN SMALL PACKAGE
She didn’t look nervous at all. Not even when diminutive Kriskatlin Zabala walked to the middle of the Verizon Center basketball court and over 18,000 pairs of eyes and ears tuned to her rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner”.
It was “Filipino Heritage Night” at the Verizon where a packed house came to see the Washington Wizards and New York Knicks play. Kris was asked to start the evening’s main event by singing the national anthem. It was a far cry from the Fil-Am gatherings where she’d be tugged by her parents to sing some familiar ditties. This was her biggest audience and she winged it like a pro.
The 13-year-old student from Fred Lynn Middle School in Woodbridge, Va. has been singing even before she started talking. “Even before I started saying words, I could already sing,” she revealed.
“I couldn’t recognize the words or how to pronounce them but I learned the tone and the way they were sang,” Kriskatlin said matter-of-factly.
She’s the youngest daughter of Alfredo Zabala of Bataan and Catalina Zabala of Manila, both active members of the Fil-Am group Kababayan Inc.
Her parents’ involvement in the Filipino community of Northern Virginia is actually what got her started. She admitted they’ve encouraged her to sing. “They want me to take vocal lessons,” she revealed, “They want me to show my talent to all their friends.”
Not that she minds. She says the whole family is fond of singing, egged on by their father who actually introduced her to the rudiments of voice and melody. Alas, Kriskatlin intimated, his father is “hiya” (shy) so his dreams of singing publicly lives on in his daughter.
Her elder brothers and sisters are either in college or working so that left her to carry the family’s musical ambitions. “Since everyone else is busy and they’re old (her eldest brother is 30 but she has a 10-year-old nephew who she says “I can still boss around”) I’m the only one who can do the stuff,” she explained.
“The stuff” is for the moment limited to entertaining her parents and their friends, something she does because she can, but is still unsure whether that’s the path she wants to follow. “I’m not sure it’s something I want to pursue later on. It depends on what I want,” she averred.
She hasn’t decided whether to audition for “American Idol” because that’s two more years down the road due to contest’s age requirement.
Kriskatlin is only starting to explore teen-hood but her talent is opening a whole world of opportunities for her.