Students Jake Forrestal and Jonathon Furer will put on an evening of musical entertainment with their concert, "Songs for a Better Tomorrow," this Friday at 8:00 p.m. at St. Michael's Church.
Forrestal and Furer will be joined by classmates to wow their audience with musical styles ranging from Broadway to pop to a bit of a Disney flavor. The concert, running on donations from the public, will benefit the Vincentia Youth Opportunity Program de Paul House, an organization that helps youth in the Philippines receive a quality education.
According to a 2009 report by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization, private higher education has been the dominant force in many East Asia countries, including the Philippines. Today, private for-profit institutions represent the fastest growing sector worldwide. The increase in private education adds to the financial burden of families in these countries, and the singers at St. Michael's intend on helping those in the Philippines.
Forrestal explained that the concert used to be an annual event held at the church. However, the coordinators of the events soon graduated from high school and went on to college, leaving the program to falter.
"I used to sing in this [concert] when I was younger," Forrestal says. "We really enjoyed it."
Once Forrestal and his friends were old enough, they decided it was time to start the concert again.
"We're running it through Father Ed [Jocson]," Forrestal stated.
Jocson was born in Manila in the Philippines, where he attended the Vincentian Seminary. Forrestal explains that the Vincentia Youth Opportunity Program is close to the Father's heart. Jocson is also an avid singer, guitar player and pianist, making the concert a perfect fit.
A majority of the students participating in the show are up and coming high school freshmen, juniors and some college freshmen, allowing a diverse background and varying skill levels to help keep attendees riveted.
"I've been singing since I was in second or third grade," Forrestal said. "I've been in shows for as long as I can remember."
Forrestal believes that, with the efforts of his fellow musicians, the group will be able to make the concert a tradition once more.
"I hope we can do this again next year," he added.