|Benefit Concert, "Play for the Philippines"|
CLASSICAL TRIO STAGE A BENEFIT CONCERT "PLAY FOR THE PHILIPPINES" AT THE ROYAL CONSERVATORY OF BRUSSELS
Brussels, 18 December 2013 --- The classical benefit concert, "Play for the Philippines" organized last Saturday by Brussels-based Filipino pianist Michael Lao Cu served as the perfect setting for Philippine Ambassador to Belgium H.E. Mrs. Victoria Bataclan to personally convey appreciation to the people and government of Belgium - most especially the members the Belgian First Aid and Support Team (B-FAST) - and to the European Union for their support and solidarity in the wake of the devastation caused by Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) that hit the Philippines on November 8.
Speaking before an audience of two hundred Europeans and Filipinos, Ambassador Bataclan described those that had urgently responded to the disaster as a "ray of light amidst the darkness that followed Mother Nature's show of might". She shared with the audience the latest figures on the damages, with 14 million people affected, four million displaced, thousands of deaths and thousands still missing.
The highlight of the Ambassador's speech was when she requested the B-FAST members present that evening to stand-up to be recognized. The audience joined the Ambassador in applauding those present, namely Brigadier General Raymond Dory (Office of Belgian Foreign Minister), Mr. Alex Lenaerts, (Diplomatic Advisor of the Office of Belgian Minister of Social Affairs and Public Health), Mr. Erikson Soriano (a Filipino-born B-FAST volunteer nurse) and Mr. Kristoff Mortier, a Belgian member of the Order of the Knights of Rizal. She likewise expressed thanks to Mr. Frédéric de Roos, the Director of the Royal Conservatory, for the generous offer to stage the concert at the Conservatory's Grand Hall.
The concert was a collaboration of award-winning artists led by Filipino pianist Michael Lao Cu, with Polish Violinist Bartlomiej Ciaston, Polish Cellist Wojciech Fudala, all alumni of the Royal Conservatory of Brussels. It also featured their co-alumnus Turkish Pianist Buğra Yϋksel, who performed a piano duo with Cu.
Proceeds of the concert, estimated at a little over 4,000 Euros, will go to the Cash-for-work Program of Tzu Chi Foundation and to the Sustainable Recovery Program of the organization Action Against Hunger.The evening's program showcased classical Western pieces including Bach, Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich and Filipino greats Lucio San Pedro, Bayani M. De Leon and Jose V. Rodis.