Lea, Fil-Am celebs headline 'Yolanda' benefit concert in DC

by Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Posted at Jun 17 2014 04:55 PM | Updated as of Jun 18 2014 07:39 PM

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A benefit concert was held at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. for survivors of super typhoon "Yolanda" (Haiyan).

The US Philippines Society, the Philippine embassy, talented performers, Filipinos and Americans came together for a night of charity and world-class performances on Sunday night.

This 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 tragedy 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 D.C., Maryland and Virginia worked together... It's probably about time that we get all organizations here work as one," Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia Jr. said.

Tony Award winner Lea Salonga headlined the show hosted by proud Filipino-American Hollywood star Lou Diamond Phillips.

"I don't know, I think we had more fun that you all did... 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," Salonga said.

Phillips says that Filipinos are the most loving people on the planet, and that was why he was not surprised to see the outpouring of international support for the people in devastated areas.

"It's nicer to see that the love they put out gets returned to them, It's incredibly heartening in this day and age when the planet comes together and joins forces to do some good," he said.

The star-studded show also featured amazing performances by Pinay ballerina of the Chicago-based Joffrey Ballet Christine Rocas and Grammy-nominated tenor Rodell Rosel

Rosel brought the house down with his version of Puccini's Nessun Dorma, an aria popularized by Luciano Pavarotti in the 1990s.

Glee star Darren Criss performed his own composition "Not Alone," performing it for the first time in public.

"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 this community that is so supportive and so talented. It was fun singing with Lea who's become a good friend via the Filipino Community's support," Criss said.

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

"That it gets better, that things are improving, that by everyone coming together, it's really going to be a better place," Frazier said.

Organizers say 100 percent of funds raised will go directly to the survivors -- to rebuild the lives of typhoon survivors by providing them livelihood such as fishing boats for fishermen and medical care, especially for pregnant women.