The second RAH Capella event of the year hit the stage in the Student Center Pit on Thursday featuring The Filharmonic, an all-Filipino a cappella group.
The Filharmonic features Jules Cruz, Joe Caigoy, Barry Fortgang, Trace Gaynor, Niko Del Rey and VJ Rosales, who came together for the purpose of “The Sing-Off,” a competition show for a cappella groups. Caigoy, Cruz and Del Ray went to San Antonio College together and were recommended to audition for the fourth season of the show by their friend Avi Kaplan, the bass for season-three winner Pentatonix.
“Before The Sing-Off, we weren’t a group,” Caigoy said. “If it wasn’t for The Sing Off, we probably wouldn’t be doing what we are now, which is traveling and performing.”
The night began with an opening performance by Rowan’s own all-male a cappella group, Profecy. They covered NSYNC, Miley Cyrus and Pentatonix.
After their performance, Profecy President Derek Foglein welcomed the Filharmonic to the stage. The group was short one member, missing Barry Fortgang for medical reasons.
The Filharmonic’s set featured a variety of songs, including “Shut Up and Dance” by Walk the Moon, “September” by Earth, Wind, & Fire and “Sugar” by Maroon 5. They also sang “Flashlight” by Jessie J as an homage to their appearance in “Pitch Perfect 2.”
The group has been touring colleges for the past year but makes sure to constantly update their show with new songs.
“We always try to add new songs, not just for variety but to try and push ourselves to make our sound evolve, because we eventually want to make originals. These covers help us find our sound,” Rosales said.
Between songs, members of The Filharmonic had a beatboxing battle. Gaynor taught the crowd how to make their own beatboxing sounds before Del Ray, the group’s beatboxer, took the stage and showed everyone just how vast his talent is. Caigoy attempted to recreate Del Ray’s sounds, but struggled as the mixes got more complicated.
Many students in attendance seemed to enjoy the show, applauding and cheering after every song. Devon Dyer, a sophomore music industry major, particularly enjoyed how The Filharmonic connected with the audience.
“I loved the show. It was very interactive and energized,” Dyer said. “My favorite part was VJ [Rosales] interacting with me and making eye contact with me. Other than that, my favorite part would have to be the beatbox battle between all the guys.”
For sophomore radio, television and film major Karlo Bulaong, it was great to see representation of his own culture at Rowan.
“I loved it. I’ve been following The Filharmonic for a long time. I’m also Filipino, so I need to represent my people,” Bulaong said. “I really liked ‘Flashlight’ because I watched that video on their YouTube channel a bunch of times, so it was really cool to see it live.”
The Filharmonic’s show at Rowan marks the end of their college tour as they prepare to hit the road with Fifth Harmony, an American girl group that formed on the second season of The X Factor U.S. The members of The Filharmonic are excited to have the opportunity to be the opening act for one of their favorite musical groups.
Members of The Filharmonic, who are where they are now because they followed their passions, encourage Rowan students to do the same.
“Just go for it because there are so many opportunities that could just happen,” Caigoy said. “When it comes to performing, or anything that you’re really passionate about, if you don’t put yourself out there, you’re not going to get anywhere. Singing is such a personal event for a person, it’s your voice and you’re afraid people are going to judge you for your voice. Sometimes that stops people, but keep going and striving for what you want to do, because that’s the only way.”
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