EARLY childhood educator and performing artist Michelle Nikki Junia is the new President Ad Interim of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, starting September 1, 2023. She was elected by the CCP Board of Trustees on August 16, 2023.
Junia, who has been with the CCP as a board trustee since 2016, replaced Maria Margarita Moran-Floirendo, who now holds the CCP’s ad interim co-vice chairperson position together with Atty. Lorna P. Kapunan.
Junia has a degree in Music Education major in voice (cum laude) at the UST Conservatory of Music. She was under the tutelage of Maestra Irma Ponce-Enrile Potenciano. Her love for teaching music and stage performance started at the young age of 15.
A former child singer and an original member of the 14K (scholars of National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab), Junia, whose family hails from Tolosa, Leyte, has performed all over the Philippines as well as in key Asian countries and in the United States. She released a record album in 2009 entitled “Back in time”, which was hailed by media for her captivating musical prowess and aptly accorded a title the “singer with a mission”.
Likewise, Junia did voice training in California, USA, with the most sought-after vocal coach in Hollywood, Seth Riggs. Known for his “speech level singing technique”, Seth’s students included virtually the “who’s who” of the world’s top performers such as Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, Barbara Streisand, Stevie Wonder, Natalie Cole, and many more.
Presently, she manages and owns a school, MUSIKGARTEN MANILA. Junia was appointed a seat on the Board of Trustees of the Cultural Center of the Philippines in October 2016.
Junia looks forward to making the CCP programs known to the younger audiences that compose a large chunk of the country’s population through art integration and digital technology. “It won’t be as difficult for some people to reach out to CCP because they may be able to relate to me,” says Nikki, who coincidentally is the youngest CCP president to hold the said position. “We have great programs, and need to catch up in promotions and marketing due to advancement in technology, including social media and other various digital platforms. These are the areas that I want to work on as soon as possible,” she adds. “The new direction is towards integration and inclusivity. Integration, meaning the old being understood and appreciated by the new generation. Inclusivity, meaning CCP is for all, regardless of social and economic status and gender, we started this with Kanto Kultura programs and other CCP programs,” Junia said.
“CCP is being more relevant now,” Junia explains. “We are truly evolving, and being sensitive to the needs of the rising fast-paced needs of this era. With that in mind, we want to expand our reach to a bigger number of audiences, and continue what our past CCP presidents have done in terms of doing outreach programs. Especially now that the CCP building is being rehabilitated for preservation and retrofitting, it is important to bring CCP to the various regions to make them feel that CCP is present. CCP is not just a building. We’re bringing the soul of CCP to the greater number of people around the country. And we also want to continue our cultural exchanges to better promote them.”
Junia also said that during her term as CCP President, she will help to awaken Filipinos to find their own place in the artistic global industry, uplifting their status as artists and educating the families on the importance of arts and culture.