Philippines typhoon relief concert Saturday in Hilo


Dance, eat and sing all in the name of a good cause at Saturday’s Philippines Typhoon Relief Benefit Concert.

The post-Christmas, pre-New Year’s extravaganza features an assortment of top-notch acts ranging from Filipino folk dancers to renowned slack key guitarists from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Aunty Sally’s Luau Hale at 799 Piilani St., Hilo.

A silent auction will be held for items including ukulele, guitars and gift certificates. Admission is by donation, and tickets are available at Hilo Guitars and Ukuleles, Downtown Dogs and Marcy’s.

Glenn Cornick, former Jethro Tull band member and concert volunteer, said when he first got involved with the fundraiser, he was moved by the community’s willingness to participate in the relief efforts.

“Then you realize everyone on this island has a connection to the Philippines,” he said. “It’s one of the biggest minorities on the island and everybody is either related to somebody or has friends who are Filipino or you work with somebody, you don’t realize that until you’re put in this position,” he said.

According to the U.S. Census American Community Survey, Hilo is home to 3,019 Filipinos. When one of the largest storms in history struck the country’s central islands Nov. 8, killing thousands and destroying everything in its path, the Hilo community responded by supplying donated goods to those in need.

Ken Cameron, owner of Hilo Guitars and Ukuleles, responded by spearheading the upcoming concert. Having previously lived in Cebu City in the Visayan region of the Philippines, he said when he first heard the news about Typhoon Haiyan, he instantly felt compelled to create a fundraising event that would draw a crowd.

“That’s our strong point — the music,” he said.

Cameron has organized multiple benefit concerts in the past, including an Asia Tsunami Relief Concert that reeled in $25,000 in donations for victims of the Dec. 26, 2004, earthquake and tsunami disaster in South Asia.

He hopes Saturday’s event will be a similar success and said he owes many thanks to the community volunteers and musicians, as well as businesses including Pacific Sound and Big Island Candies, for their efforts in making Saturday’s event a reality.

“It’s like everyone wanted to participate in it,” Cameron said.

Money from the silent auction, tickets and other sales will go toward the local Congress of Visayan Organization for Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts.

Margarita “Day Day” Hopkins, board member for the local Visayan group, recently returned from the Philippines and anticipates the money will go toward Gawad Kalinga, an organization that works to build villages and initiate livelihood programs and health services for communities around the world, and the Archdiocese of Palo.

“People there are continually in need of assistance. Most of the outer layers aren’t affected by the relief efforts,” Hopkins of Leyte said. “So, that’s why I’m more inclined to reach out to the very bottom of the community. They need it the most.”

Email Megan Moseley at mmoseley@hawaiitribune-herald.com.