HOSTOS COMMUNITY COLLEGE, BRONX, NY- December 6, 2013 the main theater at Hostos Community College transformed into a concert venue to aid those in need. Hostos Helping, an organization created by the Hostos Media Design Programs, held a benefit event to raise money for those devastated by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Haiyan hit the Philippines with 195 mph winds and 13-foot surges on November 8, 2013. The death toll so far has reached almost 6,000. 18,557 injuries have been reported. 1,602 remain missing. There are 449,416 currently living in evacuation shelters. Those numbers are expected to rise according to the Washington Post.
Rees Shad, director of the Media Design program, pieced together the concert with students, professors, musicians, and many other talents. The concert opened with a bachata performance from the Hostos Band. Those who were familiar with the genre danced in their seats and sang along. German Santos, a liberal arts student, performed a song inspired by a poem from Maya Angelou, followed by the New York African Chorus Ensemble who honored Nelson Mandela with their gorgeous voices.
Raul and Friends rocked out on stage after the ensemble. The band is formed by students of the Digital Music program. Lead vocalist Angelica Sitnyakovskaya joined Emmanuel “Manny” Diaz, assistant professor, in an Alicia Keys cover. Performers from the Philippines were present like Andre Ignacio Dimapilis and Baihana who live-streamed their pieces.
The cast of Zombies: The Musical added comedy to the show, followed by a jaw-dropping performance by Alan Arroyo. Rondell Charles, a Hostos graduate, lef the audience in awe with a spoken word piece. Jonathan Martinez loaned his talents with an original composition. Hostos Professor Batty Hartglass collaborated with a talented Hunter College student in a musical duet.
Rees Shad walked onto the stage to share his musical talent. He played on the grand piano a few of his original compositions, one in collaboration through a simulcast video with his longtime 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 gave a standing ovation.
After the concert, Rees Shad raffled away a guitar he built himself. The big moment arrived in which the donations were tallied. 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 prouder 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: Rosa Elena Burgos and Gilberto E. Burgos
Videos: Rosa Elena Burgos
Last Updated: January 14, 2022