By Steven Woodring, news correspondent
To carry both musical talent and cultural pride may weigh on some as a burden, but for The Filharmonic it’s a natural fit.
The Filharmonic, an a cappella group from Los Angeles, flew into Boston to play a show on Friday, Sept. 25 at Northeastern.
“We like to bring the party,” VJ Rosales, one of the six members of the entirely Filipino-American group, said.
Based on crowd response, they succeeded.
The Filharmonic started to gain fame after appearing in 2013 on NBC’s “The Sing-Off,” a competitive a cappella television show, and recently took part in the filming of the movie “Pitch Perfect 2.”
Northeastern’s Asian Student Union (ASU) invited the group to perform at afterHOURS. Though the stage was one of the smallest venues the group has encountered since their recent burst of popularity, the band members said it did not change their attitude toward the show.
Starting the night off with a rendition of Nick Jonas’ “Chains,” The Filharmonic started with high energy. They covered hit songs from pop icons like Justin Bieber, Rihanna and Bruno Mars. Beatboxer Niko Del Rey even took advantage of a lag in the concert to challenge his band members in a beat-making match.
In between songs, the group kept the crowd entertained by putting individuals on the spot to answer a question or singing happy birthday to a lucky student sitting in the second row.
Following the show, fans lined up to get an autograph, take a picture or just talk to the group before they flew back to California.
While ASU was glad to see the show be fun for everyone, they made it clear that they brought The Filharmonic to campus not only to put on a great show, but also to support the club’s mission.
“Our goal is to foster a community to spread awareness about cultural issues,” Xida Zou, junior pharmacy major and president of ASU, said.
For those of Asian origin, one of the most concerning cultural issues is the prominent stereotype that Asians are virtually limited to occupations in the medical or scientific fields. Groups like The Filharmonic break down this stereotype by succeeding in professions of a creative focus, according to Emily Miller-Mcglone, sophomore computer science and communications major and a representative for ASU.
“Asian-Americans aren’t only doctors,” she said. “They can be in the music industry as well, and they can excel in it.”
The Filharmonic’s penultimate stop on their nationwide college tour was one of the many performances the ASU has brought to NU. Every semester they bring in a different act that affirms the notion Asian-Americans can be successful in many fields. When the club heard that six Filipino-Americans were making a name for themselves in a branch of the entertainment industry, they could not resist.
“They bring something new to the table, being an a cappella band. They stuck out to us,” Christina La, junior health science major and vice president of ASU, said.
Though the group began as a friendly musical outlet for the band members, The Filharmonic could never have imagined becoming this well-known frot their music.
“Initially, our goal was just to get past the first round of ‘The Sing-Off.’ It’s crazy how far it’s taken us, it’s been very surreal,” Joe Caigoy, member of The Filharmonic, said.
Although they have now completed their college tour, there is no time for them to rest.
“Nothing’s really down time for us. Shows always just spring up,” Trace Gaynor, group member, said.
Looking toward their future, The Filharmonic band members are as unsure about where they are going as to how they got to be where they are now.
“Hopefully we’ll be in ‘Pitch Perfect 3,’ if that’s a thing,” Del Rey said.
As for Caigoy’s vision, his ambitions set the group’s aspirations even higher.
“We could have never even imagined touring or making videos,” he said. “Maybe we’ll go around the world, who knows.”
Photo by Robert Smith