CHICAGO, IL — For the windy city of Chicago, last Friday was a series of firsts.
“Today, we are making history. This is the first time in Chicago that a Filipino American choir is singing the US National Anthem,” says community organizer Ruben Salazar.
It was also the first time that a Filipino American NBA player participated in the Chicago Bulls’ Filipino night.
25-year old Jordan Clarkson of the LA Lakers says he did not expect 400 Filipinos to show up after the game.
“It’s good, I always feel the love and support, all around. When I’m here in this state, or when I’m back in LA so it’s good to have a following; some of my best supporters.”
Filipino community organizer Andy Gaston says he is proud of the event, where proceeds went to Chicago’s chapter of the Filipino American National Historical Society. For every ticket sold, $10 went to FANHS. Andy says they hit two birds with one stone, to help the organization in their upcoming summer conference.
“Yes it was fun; we had a great time, but at the same, time we’re giving back and doing good for the community.”
For the Silayan choir, singing in front of 20,000 people in the largest arena in the US was an opportunity of a lifetime.
“The Bulls is a big organization. This is a sports town, Chicago, and to sing in this kind of activity, it’s a big big opportunity,” said president Ilani Velaro.
“This was an opportunity for us to project to all people, not just here, but throughout the world,” said choir founder Gloria Millare.
The LA Lakers’ coach and players say they are happy with their Pinoy teammate’s performance. Clarkson scored 19 points and 4 assists that night.
The Lakers won 108-103 over the Bulls.
For Clarkson, the sport is more than just a chance to bring home NBA trophies — it’s also the opportunity to inspire his fans.
“Just keep running, put the time in. Anything is possible. Not everybody is going to make it to be an NBA player, but put the same time and passion to anything you want to do, and you’ll achieve it.”
Community organizers say they are already planning their third Filipino night happening August of this year.