New York – Home-grown singers Kirby Asunto and tenor Jared Martin shone with their stellar performance and generous hearts in a fundraiser concert for OSM! Digital editor Leani ‘Nikki’ Auxilio dubbed as Faith, Hope and Love.
The concert may be the first humanitarian response of a community and young singers to a health need of a young FilAm battling cancer. Grace Labaguis, a promotions consultant and CEO of Synergy Production remarked: “It was a concert full of love as the two young and talented performers rendered all-time favorite songs, dedicated to Nikki. Having the community come together for a good cause was heartwarming. Friends and family took the time to lend a helping hand for a Kababayan in need. Indeed, the bayanihan spirit is always within us, Filipinos wherever we may be.”
The Kalayaan Hall of the Philippine Center was filled to its maximum capacity on October 25, 2019 between 7 and 9PM. Asunto proved herself capable of belting hard rock song Bohemian Rhapsody while Martin was endearing in his medley of Philippine love songs that sent the audience singing along. The two were incredibly stunning in their duet on the theme of The Phantom of the Opera.
Faith, Hope and Love was directed by Marisse Panlilio, making the evening entertainment smooth and easy. Bernie Visto, as musical director, was applauded for a well-tailored diverse genre of songs. Producer Shirley Asunto, the mother of Kirby, originally thought of the fundraiser for Auxilio, and brought forward the idea to OSM! Publisher Marivir Montebon, Auxilio’s mother, in the summer of 2019. The organizers of the show included Joji Babuschak (co-producer and floral designer), Marisse Panlilio, Cosette Panlilio, Juliet Payabyab, production manager Cecile Duyongco, and Elena Bahian, entrepreneurs and key leaders of the community. Ray Maranan, Boyet Loverita, and Troi Santos did the videography and photography.
Montebon, who is president of the FilAm Press Club of New York, thanked Asunto and the organizers and called the concert a project of compassionate mothers. “We are just ordinary people doing what we have to do in New York but this concert fundraiser makes us feel special at this time of difficulty. Thank you so much.”
The young Asunto and Auxilio have been friends as teenagers growing up in New York. Martin, for his part, was glad to have been invited to perform in the concert. Auxilio, 27, was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in December 2018 after undergoing a full colorectal surgery.
During the program, finance manager Juliet Payabyab handed $5000 in check to Montebon from donations and proceeds of the tickets. Supporters to the fundraising concert included Consul General Claro Cristobal, Ms. Marilou Cristobal, Amb. Mario de Leon, Ms. Eleanor de Leon, and friends from as far as Washington DC and Toronto, Canada. (Photos by Troi Santos and Boyet Loverita).