By Jennifer Goetz
On Wednesday, Nov. 30, the talented all-male a cappella The Filharmonic group featured in NBC’s “The Sing Off” and “Pitch Perfect 2” performed in Mayo Concert Hall. Hosted by the Asian American Association The group,, consists of Filipino-American members who entertain audiences with hip-hop and pop covers, along with their own original music.
Vocalists VJ Rosales, Joe Caigoy, Trace Gaynor and Barry Fortgang, vocal bass Jules Cruz and beatboxer Niko Del Ray entered the stage in sync with one another. While their movements and choreography were not always exactly alike, they all gave off the same energy during each song.
“They can balance a small group and have such a strong sound,” said Derek Carper, a member of one of the College’s a cappella groups, iTunes, and a senior marketing major. “(They have) a super great stage presence.”
The Filharmonic performed songs such as “Chains” by Nick Jonas, “Shut up and Dance with Me” by Walk the Moon. Every song was well-known, so the audience could easily pick it up and sing along with them, except from their original song, “Get up and Go.” However, the group taught the audience the verses, so they could sing, too.
The group encouraged audience participation throughout its performance. They called up a volunteer to serenade, got the audience to create different sounds to make a collective rhythm and dedicated a song,“Sugar” by Maroon 5, to New Jersey’s signature dessert: cannolis. Remi Hoff, a freshman applied math major, was impressed by their performance, describing them as “really personal and interactive.”
“I think it would be nice for the audience to take out of (our performance) that we have a lot of fun with a cappella music,” Fortgang said. “There’s a lot of work that we put into it so hopefully that shows.”
After the show, the audience was treated to a meet and greet, so fans could take a quick picture with the group.
“They were so entertaining and fun,” said Kamy Reyes, a junior communication studies major. “(They gave) charismatic performances.”
The Filharmonic is currently embarking on its first nationwide “Get up and Go” tour and are traveling to 120 college campuses. In addition to its work on “The Sing Off” and “Pitch Perfect 2,” The Filharmonic has appeared on the “Late Late Show with James Corden” in a segment with Anna Kendrick. The group also has an active YouTube channel, where the group uploads covers of popular songs and original content. Currently the channel has more than 140,000 subscribers.
The Filharmonic were not the only a cappella group to grace the Mayo Concert Hall stage. iTunes, who co-sponsored this Student Activity Fee-funded event along with TCNJ Barkada, performed to open the show, with songs “Lego House” by Ed Sheeran, “Cake by the Ocean” by DNCE and more. Through beatboxing, clapping and stomping, the group made the audience forget that there were no instrumentals. iTunes will be performing its own concert on Sunday, Dec. 11, in Mayo Concert Hall.
As for The Filharmonic, the group looks forward to taking on new projects and plans to focus on releasing more YouTube covers and more original content this upcoming year.
If there is one thing the group hopes the audience takes away from their performance, it was to have fun.
“We have fun all the time up onstage,” Fortgang said. “And hopefully we get to share that with the audience.”