Filipino talent shines in NY at "Pinoy Relief" benefit concert

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

March 13, 2014

NEW YORK – “Pinoy Relief” was not only a benefit concert for the survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, it was also a spectacular showcase of Filipino talent at the historic Madison Square Garden in New York Tuesday night.

“American Idol” finalist Jessica Sanchez wowed the crowd with her own take of the song “Let it Go” from the movie “Frozen”.

Sanchez was accompanied by fellow Fil-Am and “Let it Go’s” multi-award winning songwriter Robert Lopez.

“He’s EGOT, it’s amazing to even have met him, and I’m just happy to be here to support my Filipino kababayans,” Sanchez said.

The 39-year-old Lopez is the 12th and youngest person to win an EGOT – an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award in a span of ten years.

In their own way, the Lopezes say they are here to help rebuild the typhoon ravaged areas in Guiuan, Samar.

“I’ve always identified as Filipino,” Lopez said. “We know what it’s like to sort of go through a devastating weather activity from being in Brooklyn during Hurricane Sandy. It broke our hearts and we’re looking for a way to give back.”

“I’m really excited to be part of that important rebuilding,” Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert’s wife, said.

Meantime, international singing sensation Charice performed her chart-topping single “Pyramid”.

“Pinoy Relief” concert’s headliner Oscar and Grammy-winning star Jennifer Hudson brought the house down with her signature song from the movie “Dream Girls”.

In a song the REO Brothers told the Madison Square Garden crowd what the typhoon ravaged areas in the Philippines need help.

Co-chair of “Pinoy Relief” benefit concert Tony Alvarez said their goal is to raise $5 million to benefit 55,000 residents of the town of Guiuan in Samar, Philippines. He said over the next six months they plan to build homes, build schools, and buy boats.

“We’ll do whatever we can with this Pinoy relief endeavor to make sure the people of the Philippines feel that safe is around you,” Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of the “Dr. OZ Show”, said.

The show ended with a bang with Tony and Gail Alvarez’ son, Anton closing the show with his UK chart topping single.

“It’s great to be able to give back and you know, as I write all my music, it’s really, you listen to the words, it’s all about that wanting to give back and tonight is just really heartfelt,” Anton Alvarez said.

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