The Filharmonic to be ‘Pitch Perfect’ on tour

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Courtesy LAUREN KLUG

A capella group The Filharmonic gained national attention after competing on NBC’s “The Sing-Off” and being featured in “Pitch Perfect 2.” 

The Filharmonic, an a capella group best-known for its fourth-place run on NBC’s “The Sing-Off” and cameo in “Pitch Perfect 2,” is currently on its “Get Up and Go” headlining tour.  The group will make three stops in Illinois the week of April 11 before returning to Chicago later this month.

The music group consists of six Los Angeles-based singers, including VJ Rosales, Joe Caigoy, Trace Gaynor, Barry Fortgang, Jules Cruz and Niko Del Rey. 

The Filharmonic formed to participate in “The Sing-Off” in 2013, where its covers of songs like Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” and Bruno Mars’ “Treasure” earned it nationwide popularity.

“[Cruz, Del Rey and I] are all Filipino, so we decided we were going to [form] a group of all Filipinos [in] the LA area,” said Joe Caigoy, the group’s self-proclaimed “cuddly bear.” 

Caigoy founded the group with Cruz and Del Rey and later added the other members: Gaynor at the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella, Rosales through a local jazz team and Fortgang, a former classmate of Cruz.

“Our very first performance was the first episode [of ‘The Sing-Off’],” Caigoy said. Then appearing in “Pitch Perfect 2” helped The Filharmonic expand its fanbase. 

“At the end of the movie, we represented the Philippines,” Gaynor said. “That opened us up to a lot of fans over there. We had our first show there in November. Being able to put videos on YouTube opened us up to people all over the country.” 

Gaynor and Caigoy credit The Filharmonic’s success to its unique style, which they describe as a mix of high-energy ‘90s pop with music from today’s top 40 charts.

“We bring a lot of energy and dancing,” Gaynor said. “We’re very ‘90s inspired. We’re a capella, and we’re all Filipino. That’s our brand.” 

The sextet has a YouTube channel on which it posts a capella covers of songs ranging from a Christmas mashup of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” and Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back,” to modern singles like “Love Yourself” by Justin Bieber.

“We try to find songs that are a bit ahead of the curve,” Gaynor said. “There is a longer turnaround time for doing something a capella. We have to arrange it, record it, produce it, film the music video. That takes about a month.” 

When The Filharmonic is not working on new covers, competing on TV shows or being featured in movies, the band tours. It has shared the stage with the likes of Linkin Park and Pentatonix.

“Our very first tour as a group was with ‘The Sing-Off Live,’” Caigoy said. “We had to figure out how to save our voices and be able to perform 40 shows in a row. I think our first tour with ‘The Sing-Off’ was very special for all of us. It was probably our favorite.”

Gaynor said college students are the group’s largest demographic, so they mostly perform at colleges. The group is working on its own original music and has further plans of touring in the fall.

“A lot of our [covers] are top 40 and ‘90s party songs,” Caigoy said. “The ‘90s party music was the stuff that we all really enjoyed [growing up], so we’re kind of going in that direction with some other things sprinkled in.”

The Filharmonic is set to perform April 11 at the Illinois Institute of Technology and return to Chicago April 23 to perform at Loyola University.