The Filharmonic a cappella group brings valuable lessons to student musicians

The Filharmonic a cappella group visited Geneseo on Saturday Feb. 18, hosting both a workshop and concert. The all Filipino-American group helped Geneseo’s student musicians improve their skills and learn new techniques. (Elizabeth Jacobs/Staff Photographer)

The famed Filipino-American a cappella group, The Filharmonic, made a stop in Geneseo as part of the Limelight and Accents Performing Arts Series. The Filharmonic hosted an a cappella workshop in Doty Hall, which was followed by a concert of their own on Saturday Feb. 18 in Wadsworth Auditorium. 

As a professional a cappella group, The Filharmonic were contestants on the popular TV show “The Sing-Off,” appeared in Pitch Perfect 2 and have been guests on “The Late Show with James Corden.” 

As such an accomplished a cappella group, The Filharmonic took some time during the workshop to share their skills and experience with the a cappella groups on campus. Students from Between the Lines, Exit 8, Emmelodics, Southside Boys and Hips ‘n Harmony were all present, as well as a couple of groups that traveled from the Rochester Institute of Technology. 

The Filharmonic gave a brief performance before asking if any of the groups in the audience wanted to perform one of their own songs for critique. BTL chose to perform their rendition of Blackstreet’s “No Diggity,” as arranged by alumnus and former member of BTL, Sam Evans ‘16. The Filharmonic gave constructive feedback, as they worked with the group to further improve their a cappella skills. 

Coincidentally, The Filharmonic sings a version of that same song in many of their concerts, so they had particularly helpful insight for the group. After BTL left the stage, one group from RIT performed one of their songs. The Geneseo groups in the audience were supportive and eager to hear what collegiate a cappella groups are doing at other schools.

The Filharmonic spent the remainder of the workshop taking questions from the audience. They discussed their experience on tour, their unique background of being an all-Filipino group and the future of a cappella as a genre. 

They ended the workshop by stating how impressed they were with the high level of musicianship from collegiate a cappella groups, how far a cappella has come and that groups like the ones here on campus are sure to create a promising future for a cappella.

The lively energy at the workshop carried over into the concert that followed. The Filharmonic gave a full performance at Wadsworth Auditorium, sharing their own renditions of popular songs from a range of popular artists such as Mariah Carey, Justin Bieber and Rihanna. 

The group kept the audience on their toes with crazy beat boxing breaks and audience participation. There were quite a few laughs, too, as they even called up a girl from the crowd and serenaded her on stage to a song akin to the scandalous blockbuster hit Magic Mike. 

After the show, students lined up for a meet and greet with the group. The Filharmonic spent some time chatting casually with students, taking pictures and signing merchandise. The group was incredibly approachable and met every fan with a smile. 

This Limelight event provided Geneseo students with a rare opportunity to meet, to learn from and to sing with touring professional musicians.