Filipino stars unite for 1st Pinoy concert at Kennedy Center

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

June 16, 2014

WASHINGTON DC – The US-Philippines Society, the Embassy of the Philippines, talented performers, Filipinos and Americans in Washington DC have come together for a night of charity and world-class performances at the prestigious John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington DC Sunday night.

It was the first time a Pinoy event was ever held at the Kennedy Center.

“After The Storm” is a benefit concert for the survivors of the biggest storm tragedies in recorded history — Super Typhoon Yolanda.

“This is a clear manifestation of the bayanihan spirit. This is the first time the 33 organizations here in Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia worked together,” Philippine Ambassador to the US, Jose Cuisia Jr. said. “It’s probably about time that we get all organizations here work as one.”

Tony Award winning actress Lea Salonga headlined the show hosted by proud Fil-Am Hollywood star Lou Diamond Phillips.

“I don’t know, I think we had more fun than you all did,” Salonga said. ”I’ve been singing that song for the last 22 years. It’s automatic. There will be a stampede that will pass in front of us and it will be just fine.”

Phillips says that Filipinos are the most loving people and he was not surprised to see the outpouring of international support for the Philippines.

“It’s nicer to see that the love they put out get’s returned to them, It’s incredibly heartening in this day and age when the planet comes together and joins forces to do some good,” Phillips said.

The star-studded show also featured performances by Apl.de.Ap of Black Eyed Peas, Cristina Rocas — Pinay ballerina of the Chicago-based Joffrey Ballet, and Grammy-nominated Tenor — Rodell Rosel, brought the house down with his version of Puccini’s Nessun Dorma — an aria popularized by Luciano Pavarotti in the 90s.

Glee star Darren Criss performed his own composition called “Not Alone” — performing it in public for the first time.

“It’s a cool celebration of heritage that I am very proud of and lucky to be a part of. You can’t choose what your heritage is and I’m lucky to be a part of community that is so supportive and so talented,” Criss said. “It was fun singing with Lea who’s become a good friend via the Filipino community’s support.”

Musical director Luke Frazier said that the thread that ties the entire show together is the faith that there is life after the storm.

He said that “It gets better, that things are improving that by everyone coming together, it’s really going to be a better place..”

Organizers say 100 percent of funds raised will go directly to rebuilding efforts in devastated areas by providing survivors means of livelihood, such as fishing boats for fishermen and medical care especially for pregnant women and their children.

You may contact Don Tagala at don_tagala@abs-cbn.com for more information.

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