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The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra

In tune with the Filipino community

by Paul Ong

As a singer in Winnipeg, one cannot ask for anything more than to perform with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. I can vividly remember daydreaming as a child about being accompanied by a full orchestra, and who would have known that dreams do manifest and do come true. I remember sitting in the audience, imagining that I was the one singing with the WSO, and lo and behold, my opportunity finally arrived. For over 10 years now, what started as being a guest performer with the WSO slowly evolved and grew into presenting a full concert together, all for good causes.

It fills me with so much joy to be given the privilege to use my voice as a platform to build community and create positive social impacts. Since we started our Annual Concert for a Cause series in 2015, we have raised almost $150,000 for local Manitoba charities, and we are gearing up for our 10th Concert for a Cause with the WSO on November 16, 2024. Through the collective community support and the support of the WSO, we have raised over $70,000 for Sistema Winnipeg, and my family has since established an endowment fund for Sistema Winnipeg.

              1 Paul Ong symphony

Sistema Winnipeg is a partnership between the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Seven Oaks School Division and Winnipeg School Division. It is a daily, intensive music education program that focuses on children with the fewest resources and the greatest need. The program delivers musical training to children after school for over two hours a day, five days a week, at no cost to their families. Sistema Winnipeg encourages children to reach their full potential and inspires greater social change within the community. This program uses the power of ensemble music to dramatically change the trajectory of children’s lives through philosophies of inclusion, teamwork, artistic excellence, intensity, mentorship, and community focus. It is a music program that changes lives.

As an individual whose life has been significantly impacted by music, my heart is very close to Sistema Winnipeg, its beliefs, and the work it does to enhance the lives of children. As a community member and a singer, words cannot express how much admiration I have for the WSO. I encourage everyone to come to concerts to support our very own, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. I am sure it will be a magical experience, and that the power of music will touch you in more ways than you can ever imagine.

Paul Ong is a Vice Principal in Winnipeg School Division. A renowned singer, he has raised thousands of dollars for various charities in Manitoba since 2014 though his annual Concert for a Cause. This year, his beneficiary will be ANCOP. The concert is coming up soon. Watch out for further announcements in the Pilipino Express.