HOSTOS COMMUNITY COLLEGE, BRONX, NY- December 6, 2013 the main theater at Hostos Community College became a concert venue for a good cause. Hostos helping was a benefit event to raise money for those devastated by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Haiyan hit the Philippines with 195 mph winds and 13ft surges on November 8, 2013. The death toll has so far reached almost 6,000. 18,557 injuries have been reported, 1,602 are missing, and 449,416 are currently living in evacuation shelters. There numbers are expected to rise as the Philippines tries to recover from the worst storm in recorded history. (Statistics from Washington Post.)
Director of the Digital Media Program at Hostos, Rees Shad, put together the concert with students, professors, musicians, and many other talents. The concert opened up with a bachata performance from the Hostos band. Those who were familiar with the music danced in their seats and sang along. German Santos played a song inspired by a poem from Maya Angelou, followed by the New York African Chorus Ensemble who raised their voices high in honor of Nelson Mandela.
Raul and friends rocked out on stage. This is a band formed by the students of the Digital Music program. Lead vocalist in the band, Angelica Sitnyakovskaya, joined Emmanuel “Manny” Diaz in an Alicia Keys cover. There were also performers from the Philippines like Andre Ignacio Dimapilis, and Baihana who did their act through a simulcast video.
The cast of “Zombies: The Musical” added comedy to the show, followed by a jaw- dropping performance by Alan Arroyo. Rondell Charles, a graduate from Hostos, did a spoken word piece. Jonathan Martinez played his original music right after. Hostos Professor Batty Heartglass accompanied a talented Hunter College student in a musical duet.
Rees Shad then came onto the stage to share his musical talent. He played on the piano a few of his original compositions, one in collaboration through a simulcast video with his long time friend Butch Rojas. Soon the Hostos Band returned and Rees rocked out with them to one of his songs. The concert closed with the Digital Music students joining the Hostos Band and Rees for a cover performance of Marvin Gaye’s “A’int No Mountain High Enough”. The audience danced and cheered along with them.
At the end of the show, Rees Shad raffled away a guitar he made. Then it was the big moment- how much money was raised for the Philippines? The total amount from the donations, raffle tickets, concert ticket sales, and the generosity of an anonymous donor totaled to more than $20,000! Rondell Charles could not have been any more proud of the outcome of the concert; “This is a great example of people using their art for the greater good.” He said. “I feel like everyone’s piece tonight was in sync with the purpose.”
Photos by Gilberto E. Burgos, Rosa Elena Oliveras
Video: Rosa Elena Oliveras
Source of Statistics from Haiyan: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/11/12/47-statistics-that-explain-typhoon-haiyan/
Information on Hostos Helping: http://www.hostoshelping.org