Reality TV show a cappella group performs on campus

IAN LACK Lifestyles Reporter

Silence. Then one voice is heard singing. Slowly, four other voices join in the mix adding repetitive beats and sporadic tracks, accompanying the lead voice and creating a cover of modern pop song without instruments. The audience cheers.

The University Program Council sponsored a show for The Filharmonic, an a cappella group made up of six Filipino male members in The Union, Feb. 26.

UPC found out about the group at the National Association for Campus Activities Convention in October 2015.

The Filharmonic has performed with The Black Eyed Peas, Lincoln Park, Pentatonix and Anna Kendrick. The group was featured in Pitch Perfect 2 singing in the movie’s world tournament.

The concert, co-sponsored with Weekend Stuff, started at 7 p.m. with the group covering a variety of songs from Nick Jonas and John Legend to their own original music. The Collegian sat down with Trace Gaynor, a vocalist for The Filharmonic after their performance to get the group’s story.


Q&A with Trace Gaynor

Q:Can you tell us when and how The Filharmonic first came together?

A:We started in the spring of 2013. We were formed for this TV show called “The Sing-Off,” it’s kind of like “The Voice,” but for a capella groups. All six of us met the day before we filmed our audition video for the show and we were lucky enough to make it and it’s just been a whirlwind since then. 

Q:What do you think sets you guys apart from what’s really come to be referred to as “boy band” crowd?

A: I think what sets us aside from the other boy bands out there is that we’re a cappella and there’s no hiding. In most boy bands, there’s like one or two lead singers and the rest of them just sort of dance in the background. We’re all constantly singing and rotating in and out. But what sets us aside from all the new a cappella groups I think is that we’re also a boy band, and then, to add on to that, we’re set apart because of our Filipino heritage. Every race is a different music style. I think what what we’re really trying to strive for is kind of defining what that Asian-American sound is.

Q:  What are your musical backgrounds within the group and do you all practice together?

A:We all have really different musical backgrounds. Almost every Filipino is born singing, so we all grew up with music. So in our group, most of us majored in music studies in college. But we have different focuses. VJ’s really into jazz, I’m mostly pop and Joe is super R&B. But, I played piano and violin growing up. I joined the a cappella group in my college and then it became my entire life.  

As far as practices go, we’re on tour right now, the “Get Up and Go Tour.” We have five to six shows a week, so practicing is always really different. But, when we’re not on tour and we’re back in LA, we’re practicing about three times per week.

Q: How do you think your performance here at SDSU went and what are your plans moving forward?

A:I think it went really great. It’s fun to have that energy from the audience not only because they know the song but also because they get that we’re not hiding behind a backdrop. They get a cappella. We have some really cool things planned, opening for some really cool people. We hope we’ll be able to go back to the Philippines in the near future and we’re starting to get into original music.

Q: What are some of your locations on this tour and what’s it like for you all within the group when touring?

A:We’re doing a lot of shows in Seattle. We have an upcoming show at Carnegie Hall. But, generally, there’s a lot of shows in the Midwest, in the Chicago area, but all of our locations are listed on our website, but most of our locations are college shows. Touring is a lot of fun right now. Performing for colleges is really great because a cappella already has sort of a built-in fanbase with them. It’s our target demographic and I think they really like what we’re performing.

Q: And I think a lot of your music comes from the 90’s and modern hits. Is this a common interest in music that your group shares together?

A:Ya, we all grew up listening to 90’s R&B, and even when we do a lot of the pop radio songs from today, that influences us in a lot of our performances

Q: Anything else that you think I may have forgotten to ask or anything you think our readers should know?

A:We’re always on social media and I think we’re pretty personable there if you need to get into contact with us. If you subscribe to us on YouTube, we put all of our covers and videos on there. So, if we don’t come back to South Dakota, you can still see all of our stuff there..


This Q & A continues and can be found online at