Six young musicians clad in red and gray letterman jackets took to the stage in Kresge auditorium this past Sunday.
The Filharmonic, composed of Barry Fortgang (Tenor 1 and 2), Joe Caigoy (Tenor 1 or 2), Jules Cruz (Bass), VJ Rosales (Tenor 1 or 2), Niko Del Ray (beat boxer) and Trace Gaynor (Tenor 3), is an all-male a cappella boy band based out of Los Angeles, California. Most recently, they are known for being contestants on NBC’s The Sing-Off!
Although the boys only placed fourth on the show, they were given the opportunity to travel the country while performing on The Sing Off Live Tour and have continued touring schools throughout the country.
The Filharmonic’s performance on Sunday was filled with high energy, cheering fans, and their own spunky twist on popular songs and old favorites.
The DePauw(TDP): First off, how did the show go? Have you ever had a crowd jump out of their seats and run to the stage?
VJ Rosales(VR): I’ve never ever had a show where people run in a herd. It’s crazy. People were screaming, and it was so loud and so much fun.
Trace Gaynor(TG): It was in the middle of when we were performing “Treasure,” everyone started to stand up and dance. My favorite part of the performance was when everyone flooded the stage.
TDP: Were you expecting that kind of reaction?
Joe Caigoy(JC): I don’t know what I was expecting. I knew it was a university, so they could have either been totally into it or they just wouldn’t care. It was great. I was not expecting to get up out of their seats and sprint to the stage. We’ve been in theaters before, and all they’ve done is just dance in their seats, but the students here actually came up to us. The energy was definitely up there. It was unbelievable.
Niko Del Rey(NDR): We came here, and there was no one on campus. We were actually scared that no one was going to show up. I was talking to Barry about how it looked like a scene from the Walking Dead. There were only cars parked, but no one on campus. It was kind of creepy. Then when the concert happened, it was crazy. People were trying to buy our hats from us and trying to grab everything they could from us!
TDP: The set list that you sang for us tonight ranged from a variety of different genres. Is there a favorite song that you love to perform?
TG: My favorite song is “Rock With You.” Tonight was actually the first time we performed it live.
NDR: I love “One More Night.” It’s the song that we usually close with because the music and choreography make people want to get off their feet. They also see us doing these aerobic, pelvic motions, and then for some reason, people start cheering, and everyone loves it.
Barry Fortgang (BF): I would have to go with “All of Me” as my favorite song. It’s just something different from what we normally do. There’s no beat boxing, so we are all singing. It’s the one I feel closest to in my heart, and John Legend is my hero.
TDP: You’ve been together since The Sing-Off, but how did you all form as a group?
JC: A few of us went to school together. Me, Niko and Joey went to school together in California with Avi Kaplan from the Pentatonix. They had won the Sing-Off before, so they contacted us and told us the show was coming back for a fourth season, and so we found the rest of the guys to form a group from past competitions in the LA area. It’s been awesome.
TDP: Have you enjoyed your time here at DePauw?
TG: I’m actually from the Midwest. I grew up in Chicago, so it’s cool coming back to show them my Midwest life, and they are all staying at my place.
JC: It’s been awesome. We got here a couple hours earlier, and all of a sudden, people were rolling in, and there was so much energy from the crowd.
VR: I feel like the students here at DePauw are so welcoming, and whatever happens on stage, they were all for it. I appreciate their love.
TDP: The beat boxer is a huge role in an a cappella group. How did you get started?
NDR: I got into beatboxing because I would love breakdancing all the time, but then my mom would come in to my room and be like, ‘Hey, it’s midnight. You can’t dance anymore.’ So I just tried beatboxing to myself, and then I joined a group at Mt. San Antonio College with Jules and Joe because they needed a beatboxer. I am really competitive, so I tried getting better and learning more. Then when we did the sing-off, there were groups with really good beat boxers, so I got even more competitive and slowly progressed to where I am today.
It’s not that hard. It’s all about practing. At first, it’s difficult because your mind is focusing on one thing while your feet are doing another, but after a while, we get into this groove.
TDP: The Filharmonic is going to be making a debut in the upcoming movie “Pitch Perfect 2.” How did you guys get a gig like that?
BF: When we were on the Sing-Off, one of the music producers is the music producer for Pitch Perfect. They were trying to figure out who it would be in the movie, so he texted Jules and was like, ‘Would you guys want to maybe be in the movie?’ We obviously said yes!
TDP: Are you excited for the premiere?
BF: Definitely, it’s one of our favorite movies. Personally, it’s what I would want my life to be like all the time. When we found out we were in the movie, we were pretty much dying. When we went to shoot, we met a couple of people from the cast, which was pretty amazing. It was such a great experience.
At the end of their performance, The Filharmonic’s six-part harmonies captured the hearts and souls of the students at DePauw enough to end in an unplanned encore of Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.”
To hear more from the Filharmonic, be sure to check out their cameo in “Pitch Perfect 2,” which premieres May 15, 2015.