X-Factor winners Dami Im (Australia) and Rose Fontanes (Israel) gave the Filipino community a concert they will never forget.
Filipino concert-goers are a hardened lot. Many of us grew up surrounded by great voices. From the soloist in our local church to the winner of the local baranggay singing contest, to the main stage - the Nora Aunors and Imelda Papins of yesteryears and the Lani Misaluchas, Regine Velasquezes and Sarah Geronimos of today, there is no shortage of phenomenal entertainers in our midst.
So when it was announced more than a month ago that two X-Factor winners are going to be performing for a Haiyan fundraising concert, many of us were excited but at the same time, already anticipated a great show.
But 'great' doesn't quite cut it when it comes to a concert that made it possible to get the best-of-the-best in the local community all in one room. From Rod Dingle as compere to Lillian de los Reyes, Jerson Trinidad and Brian Lorenz all performing on stage, the audience were in for a magical treat.
And representing the youth were Australia's Got Talent Kookies n Kream and the Blockout Dancers both of which kept pace with the energy bouncing in the room.
But many trekked to Sydney Town Hall, despite the chill of the first day of winter, for the opportunity to watch Rose 'Osang' Fontanes perform live. She who lived a life that came straight out of a telenovela. She didn't even want to audition but, thank goodness for a very determined friend, she took a chance and the rest, as they say, is history.
And in the middle of all the Filipino talent came the belle of the ball in Australia's music industry. Dami Im, the South Korean-Aussie who captured the heart of the nation, proved to one and sundry why she won the gruelling X-Factor competition. Her voice soared. It bellowed from the stage and pierced through our hearts. What a beautiful and strong voice she has. And how gorgeous inside and out, too.
And then there's Rose - the caregiver, the OFW, the family breadwinner, the entertainer, the singer and the star, capturing everyone in the room with a voice that said, "I have seen through a life full of struggle and I am still here, strong and relentless."
Rose is still coming to grips with her newfound fame. You speak to her and she tells you that she still feels a bit conscious performing in front of a crowd. A crowd that adores her. She acts as if she's just won the lottery and all the adulation is a mere luck of the draw.
She couldn't be far wrong. There is no luck here, just immense talent. If anything, she won the genetic lottery. A voice like hers is a gift that cannot be contained - not even by a hard start at life.
Dami and Rose delivered a concert that had double the X-Factor. Powerful, inspirational and unforgettable. Filipinos are usually a tough crowd. Today, they - we - were soft like marshmallows.
The concert was organised by the Filipino Community Co-operative Limited with Kate Andres as executive producer. Part of the proceeds will go to Haiyan survivors through the works of World Vision Australia.
Photos: Darryl O' Brien Photography. Check out his photo gallery.
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