The event "Sydney Sings for Hope" which was held on Sunday, February 2, 2020 in Bowman Hall, Blacktown was a success as the various sectors of the Fil-Aus and the wider communities rallied behind its goal to raise funds for the victims of the bushfires in Australia and the explosion of the Taal Volcano in the Philippines.

With only three weeks to get volunteers for the staging of the event, promote it, get sponsors and sell tickets, the project organised by MENM Productions in collaboration with the recently formed Filipino Sports and Recreational Club [FILSPARC] raised, as of 5th February 2020, the amount of $5,250 for the bushfire victims which would be channelled  through Major Topher Holland of the Salvation Army, Australia. Following the eruption of the Taal Volcano in the Philippines, it was agreed by the organisers that a portion of the proceeds of the event would be allocated to the victims; with the amount of $2,130 to be coursed through Mabelyn de la Cruz-Fenandez, of Red Cross Philippines.

In addition to an enthusiastic audience, the event was graced by the presence of a number of politicians and special guests:  Mayor of Blacktown, Tony Bleasdale; Vice Mayor Julie Griffiths; Councillor Susai Benjamin; Councillor Moninder Singh; Councillor Carol Israel; State MP for Blacktown Stephen Bali; Federal MP for Chifley Ed Husic; and Editor-in-Chief Money Magazine Michelle Baltazar; officers of Fil-Aus community organisations and media representatives.

It took no time, from the moment MENM posted an invitation on social media for artists and other volunteers for the event, to have a line up of performers, production team and media partners.  

From the very first number by the cute InStyle Pinay kids dancing to the tune of "Couldn't Be Better" by Kelly Clarkson and the Steel Horse Band doing a cover of toe-tapping "Johnny Be Good" by Chuck Berry, the audience knew they were in for a big treat!  Everyone present enjoyed each of the performances right to the  finale "Aint No Mountain High Enough" which got everyone up on their feet.



The night's fantastic entertainment was provided by:

The dancers InStyle Pinay Kids composed of Maria Hall and Chloe Lofthouse.

Singers -  Porsha Pepic, Gia Clarissa, Jojo Sebastian & Rojel Chan. Gliselle Santos Ramos, Lillibeth Munar,  Jinky Trijo Marsh & Christopher Booth, Miss Earth 2019 Susana Danielle Downes, Myla Jones, Makisig Morales.

The event was also graced by the Miss Earth Elemental Court composed of Miss Earth Air - Sheridan Mortlock, Miss Earth Water - Karyn Xie with Miss Earth Charity Queen, Brittany Dickson. 

Bands - Steel Horse Band: Joe Griffiths, Brendan Co-Elliot, Jack Parkinson, Ben Cochron,  Zach Oliveira; - Simon Bernardo & Band: Simon Bernardo,  Joe Graham and Grace Labrum;  - Brother's Keeper Band: Brian Anderson, OC Canarsie, Nonie Portugal; - Vonix Connex Band: Criz Guce, Joel Mejica, Michael Jumawan, Jeoffrey Hizon, Ian Neil Garcia and Ross Vinculado (new member).

The night's proceedings were kept flowing by the Emcees - Jojo Sebastian and Susana Danielle Downes.

Aside from the beautiful performances of the various artists and bands, the highlight of the entertainment was the trending 'flash dance' of the song "Tala" popularised by Philippine singer Sarah Geronimo, as led by Michelle Baltazar, Ella Ponce and other artists with the music accompaniment by Vonix Connex Band.  Another highlight of the program was a touching tribute by Michelle to the 'mother' which accepted and nurtured her and her family and now she felt it was fitting to  give back to that mother, which is Australia.

The organising team was composed of: FILSPARC President: Pedro Marasigan; FILSPARC Vice President: Jojo Laquian; MENM Productions Executive Producer: Len Puzon; MENM Productions Director: Chi De Jesus; MENM Productions Manager: Sheila Raptis; MENM Marketing Director: Ella Ponce.

Needless to say there were many volunteers who contributed to make the event a success; notable on the evening were Sound Engineer Andrew Russell who also did voice-overs and the team of photographers composed of Bob Reyes and Star Central Magazine photographers [Aleksander Emereev, Kevin Gomez and James Mao] plus those who worked behind the scene.

When asked to comment on the event, MENM Productions Manager, Sheila Raptis said: "Overall, the experience of handling a production of volunteers to create this event was very positive and even overwhelming for some of us in production. It gave everyone involved, a sense of feeling that they have contributed their valuable time in some form or another, whether it was a song or two, or selling tickets or setting up the venue, to help generate $7,580 dollars that will help victims of such devastating natural disasters to build their lives again. 

"The concert in itself was packed with songs that created a variety of music that entertained the entire family. Our audience is normally composed of Filipinos but a signification number of Australians joined us for this event, how amazing! Some nostalgic Filipino songs bringing back memories and hope for new day called 'Umaga Kay Ganda' meaning 'Beautiful Morning', plus a new trending song called 'Tala' meaning 'Stars' encouraged some of the audience to dance with the performers. The entire repertoire was so entertaining from start to finish. It was such a delight to watch our audience and our dignitaries especially Mayor Tony Bleasdale and his wife, and Vice Mayor Julie Griffiths dancing and enjoying themselves." 

No Filipino get-together is complete without the sharing of delicious food.  The event was like a typical 'fiesta' with everyone enjoying food available - puto bumbong [sticky purple rice]; pansit palabok [noodles]; siopao [pork and chicken steamed bun]; vegie spring rolls; and uncooked longganisa [sausage] to take home, to name a few. 

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