Former Canadian Idol Martha Joy sings during her fundraising concert.

Former Canadian Idol star hosts concerts for Philippine relief

Scarborough resident Martha Joy kicks off series of shows

A former Canadian Idol is using her talent to raise money for the Philippines.

On Nov. 22, Martha Joy hosted a fundraising concert in response to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

Joy, who is from the Philippines but grew up in Scarborough, decided to bring her talent and family connections together to make a difference.

“I don’t have much that I can give, but I do have my voice,” Joy said. “This is the only way that I can do something, where I’ll be able to help people.”

The fundraising concert was held in Rembrandt Banquet Hall and tickets were $30. Food and refreshments were served. All proceeds from the concert are going to designated charities in the Philippines. The concert was one of many Joy will be hosting across the Greater Toronto Area.

The concert started with Joy singing both the Filipino and Canadian national anthems. Prayers were also said for everyone affected by the typhoon, including Filipino-Canadians with family and friends back home.

“They are my ‘kababayan’ (my fellow countrymen), so it’s very hard for me to hear [about] those events,” said Irene Ordinaro, a Scarborough resident and attendee at the concert. The concert will help the victims of the typhoon as well as the Filipinos here in Canada, she said.

The Lady of Assumption Catholic Church choir and Ken de los Santos, former Canada’s Got Talent contestant, also performed with Joy during the concert.

“Seeing everyone move to the music regardless of style and just seeing everyone together for a great cause … really shows everyone that we care about everyone back home,” de los Santos said.

Joy ended the concert with the famous Filipino song, Bayan ko (My Country), originally sung by Freddie Aguilar. The song touched the hearts of the audience and Joy received a standing ovation for her last performance.

“The last [song] was good. It was very touching. And [Joy], made me cry,” Ordinaro said. “It’s touching because I can see the videos of the devastation in the Philippines and the song really fits in with [what’s happening] in the Philippines.”

Joy currently lives in Scarborough and says that Scarborough has the largest Filipino-community, making it a great location for these kinds of events to raise awareness and give aid to the Philippines.

“I think here, [the Filipino community] is really close, especially in Scarborough,” Joy said. “And it’s nice to be around your own people especially during these devastating kinds of times because we have each other for support.”

Joy and her family also started the Martha Joy foundation after hearing about the typhoon. She and her family are currently in the process of getting it registered as a non-profit charity.

“We’re aiming to help the families and children abroad especially now, in the Philippines, but also here in Canada,” Joy said. “I realized that even here [in Canada], we have families here who are in desperate need of help.”

Joy only had a week to organize and prepare for the concert, but all of the performers and organizers were very happy with the turn out.

“Everyone is here, united for the Philippines and I don’t think we can wish for anything more than that,” de los Santos said.