Kennedy Center to open its halls to Haiyan fundraising concert on June 15th

Lea Salonga, the Kennedy Center,  and

Lea Salonga, the Kennedy Center, and

By Maricar CP Hampton

Fundraising for the families that lost their homes to Typhoon Haiyan has reached the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

On June 15, the event, “After the Storm: A Benefit Concert for the Philippines,” will be held at the prestigious venue created to provide jobs to unemployed artists during the Great Depression.

“Of course, the Kennedy Center would be an ideal location because it’s an institution here in Washington D.C.,” said Filipino American community leader Carmen Stull.

And because it’s the Kennedy Center, the concert headlines only exceptional talent, led by Tony Award-winner Lea Salonga, Black Eyed Peas vocalist and actors Darren Criss and Lou Diamond Phillips.

Also in the lineup are singer Charice Pempengco, violinist Joshua Bell, tenor Rodell Rosel, ballet dancer Christine Rocas, the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, the Broadway Community Chorus, and fashion designer Josie Natori. The program will also feature a series of video messages from celebrities and other international personalities.

“The idea of having a concert to raise funds and help with the typhoon relief came from Ambassador Jose Cuisia and his wife Vicky. And when we were trying to find a venue to hold it, we could only think of the Kennedy Center,” said Stull, one of the concert’s organizers.

She said the concert will be an “excellent opportunity” to showcase the quality of performing talent in the Filipino American community.

“It is not often that you are able to showcase them in a place like the Kennedy Center,” she added.

Ambassador John Maisto, president of the organizing U.S.-Philippines Society, drew attention to the importance of the concert. He said, “As the world’s attention is gradually drawn away from the devastation in the central Philippines, we are reminded that formidable challenges remain for millions of families displaced by the most powerful tropical storm ever to make landfall.”

He said the Kennedy Center benefit will help those people reconstruct homes and schools, restart businesses, restore livelihoods, and regain access to health facilities.

“Our work had just begun,” said Dr. Abraham Rasul, Jr., co-chairman of the Humanitarian Coalition, which is a sponsoring organization. “There is the long rehabilitation road ahead to get these communities back on their feet,”

The concert is also a way to celebrate the spirit of the ‘bayanihan,’ and show how a community can come together to help struggling Filipinos rebuild their communities and provide them a hopeful future for their families.

“The concert is very important not only to thank those who have contributed to the relief efforts but also to remind everyone that the work is not finished yet,” said Bing Branigin, Philippine Red Cross Representative in Washington, D.C. “We need to raise more funds to rebuilt homes, schools, livelihood and other infrastructure.”

Tickets may be purchased online at, by visiting the Kennedy Center Box Office or charge by phone by calling (202) 467-4600

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