Published on

Paul Ong’s concert raises $46,564

for music education

   PAUL ONG front page
Paul Ong and family present the $45,064 donation to Sistema Winnipeg. L-r: Ong family: Geraldine, Johhan, Alwin, Myrna, and Paul; Brent Johnson, WSO Associate Director, Education & Community; Sam Vickar and Odessa Rosati of Vickar Automotive Group, benefactor and the concert’s title sponsor. Another cheque of $1,500 donation was given to Ecolé Garden Grove School.

Paul Ong’s annual Concert for a Cause held at Calvary Temple on Saturday, April 29, 2023, not only raised $46,564 but also saw the community united through music.

As Paul Ong, accompanied by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (WSO), performed before the 1,500 strong audience, everyone knew it was time well spent because they were not only listening to Ong’s powerful and beautiful voice, but they were also helping Winnipeg’s youth.

WSO conductor Naomi Woo led the 70-piece Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra through impressive arrangements of classical, contemporary and even an OPM medley of Filipino composer Willy Cruz’s songs. Among the highlights of the show was when the Ecolé Garden Grove School choir, composed of 80 young singers, and Ong gave an inspiring rendition of Louis Armstrong’s song What a Wonderful World. Another special feature was when the Sistema Winnipeg choir and Ong sang Wavin’ Flag, a song by Somali Canadian artist K’naan.

Paul Ong 2023Since 2014, 100 per cent of the proceeds of Ong’s Concerts for a Cause have been used to support military families, the Children’s Heritage Fund, food and shelter programs, Siloam Mission, Hands of Hope and Cancer Care Manitoba.

This year, Ong’s beneficiaries are the Sistema Winnipeg, an after-school music program for kids living in lower-income areas, and the students at Garden Grove School where he is the Vice- Principal. Ong handed $45,064 to Sistema Winnipeg while Garden Grove School received $1,500.

“Paul’s energy, passion, and dedication to our community are incredible. We are grateful for Sistema Winnipeg to be the beneficiary of the 2023 Concert for a Cause, providing vital funds to help support our program, which is entirely donor, funder, and sponsor supported,” said Brent Johnson, WSO Associate Director, Education & Community. “Paul’s vision and that of Sistema Winnipeg align beautifully, and not only will this concert be a terrific experience for the students in the choir, but these funds will further our mission of social change through music.”

“I am deeply honoured to have the privilege of using my gifts as a platform for community building and engagement to support community causes like Sistema Winnipeg. Sistema Winnipeg is such an important program and is a prime exemplar of what music can do to the lives of youth and for social change. I am so excited to share the stage with Sistema Winnipeg and Garden Grove students, and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and Naomi Woo,” said Ong. “To our community whose support has made the annual concert for a cause series possible, maraming salamat po! It is only with the collective community support that we are able to make this happen. Sa uulitin po, and see you all next year for our 10th annual concert for a cause!”

Next year will mark the tenth anniversary of Concert for a Cause. Proceeds from that concert will go to ANCOP, to build homes for poor communities in the Philippines.

What is Sistema Winnipeg?

Sistema Winnipeg was founded in 2011 and serves youth in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in what are considered at-risk communities. These communities have the fewest resources but some of the greatest needs, and Sistema Winnipeg aims to help inspire youth to make a difference in their world and communities.

The program is a unique partnership between the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Seven Oaks School Division (SOSD) and the Winnipeg School Division (WSD) and provides music education to children for two hours after every school day throughout the entire school year. Students are provided an instrument, a nutritious snack, a safe space to learn, grow, and flourish where they make friends and memories to last a lifetime – all at no cost to families.

Currently, Sistema Winnipeg serves up to 150 children from grades 1-12 at two main school communities: Elwick Community School (SOSD) and King Edward Community School (WSD), along with satellite instruction provided weekly with Isaac Newton School (WSD) and St. John’s High School (WSD). (Source:


Nancy Karpinsky, principal of Ecolé Garden Grove School, receives the $1,500 donation to Ecolé Garden Grove School from Paul Ong. L-r: Ong family: Geraldine, Johhan, Alwin, Myrna, and Paul; and Principal Nancy Karpinsky.


WSO conductor Naomi Woo led the 70-piece Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra through impressive arrangements of classical, contemporary music, and OPM. Woo is also the Sistema Music Director.

Sistema Winnipeg

The Sistema Winnipeg choir and Paul Ong sing Wavin’ Flag, a song by Somali Canadian artist K’naan

Garden Grove

The Ecolé Garden Grove School choir and Paul Ong sing What a Wonderful World. Photos by Rey-Ar Reyes