Last Friday, February 27, I attended the second annual Raise the Roof Benefit Concert hosted by the gentlemen of Zeta Phi Rho. They held the concert at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center at California State University Long Beach. The venue itself held a large capacity of almost two thousand people and the show was in fact sold out. Tickets were twenty dollars a piece but all of the proceeds went to a generous cause called Gawad Kalinga which translated in English means to “give care.” The generous amount of donations from the audience helped to build homes and schools in the impoverished areas of the Philippines. GK is an alternative solution to poverty not only in just the Philippines but to the world, its goal is to “create a higher standard of life, to return dignity to the people, and crate hope in the world.” The benefit concert was a huge success in numbers and not only was it sold it but it was worth every nickle and dime. In fact, the mantra for the night before each performance was to scream “lets build homes!” The hosts provided comic relief and there were several entertaining and memorable performers that pleased the crowd in which money was well spent.
The audience filled the ambience of the venue with cheers of anticipation as the first musical act took the stage. AJ Rafael, a young and upcoming singer songwriter famously known on youtube took the stage and knocked it out of the ballpark. He serenaded the audience with his smooth voice on his keyboard opening with a classic Disney melody. The crowd got up and sang along while simultaneously reminiscing in their own childhood memories. AJ sang a couple of songs from his demo CD, he even debut his new single “Showstopper” in which the young women went crazy. Along with his new single he sang his classic songs such as “My Soldier,” “I Just Want You” and an interesting song in which he wrote for the petition of a third installment of the dark night called “MidKnight.” His piece was really good that I can even imagine it as a song on the movie’s soundtrack. His performance showed great showmanship as it was only his voice and his keyboard. He was such an incredible talent that I too even purchased his CD right after the concert ended.
Following the night of incredible acts and dance performances the trio known as G.L.P stormed the stage. GLP known as Gabe Bondoc, Leegay and Passion crooned the audience with their soulful R&B renditions of their own songs plus cover songs of today’s musical styles. G.L.P opened with a crowd pleaser melody in which the crowd was on their feet singing. After the trio’s melody each singer sung their own songs. First up was Gabe Bondoc, one can describe him as a heartthrob and all of the girls went crazy when he sang his song “Youtube Star.” Girls in the audience were hyperventilating and making proposing comments. He performed solo with his guitar and sang his heart out. His voice was as smooth as butter and gave me chills just hearing him live. Leejay followed the crooner with his incredible beat box skills and finally Passion performed on his keyboard singing a song he wrote dedicated to his lover called “Vienna” which admiringly is the name of his girlfriend.
The final musical acts showcased a variety of music styles of Hip Hop and R&B in which the crowd came to their feet dancing to the songs of DJ Class and Far East Movement. Rapper, DJ Class rocked the stage with his hit single “Im the ish.” He captivated the stage with his beats on the Mic. and the Carpenter Center soon turned into a club. The gentlemen of Zeta Phi Rho and all of the performing acts soon joined him on stage to hype up the audience on their feet. One could say that the scene of the stage looked like an episode of MTV’s Spring Break. Beach balls were flying throughout the audience and it was a really fun way to get everyone involved. Why not have fun while supporting a good cause? The show soon ended with the hardliners of Far East Movement, better known as FM, an up and coming Asian hip hop crew who has taken over hit radio stations such as Los Angeles’ Power 106. They performed their hit songs “LowRiding” and “Girls on the Dance Floor.” I was in shock on how amazing they did. Typically I cringe at the thought of Asians trying to rap but FM exceeded my expectations and I too, was on my feet rocking out to their songs.
Overall, the benefit concert was a huge success showcasing both entertainment and charity among the youth and targeting Gawad Kalinga to a new target audience. The musical styles catered to my ear and by the end of the night I could not stop humming the songs in my head.