Artist Spotlight Archives - Filipino American Symphony Orchestra

Artist Spotlight

A photo of Pete Avendaño in promotion of FASO@10 at the Alex Theater on November 3, 2018 at 7 p.m.

Artist Spotlight: Tenor & Music Educator Pete Avendaño

Next up in this FASO@10 spotlight series is tenor and music educator Christopher “Pete” Avendaño! Watch Pete and many more at “FASO@10: A Decade of Music, Harmony and Community” on Saturday, November 3 at 7:00 p.m. at the historic Alex Theatre!

A photo of Pete Avendaño in promotion of FASO@10 at the Alex Theater on November 3, 2018 at 7 p.m.

1. Pete Avendaño’s no stranger to FASO! He performed in our inaugural concert at the Saban Theater. Here’s his hauntingly beautiful performance of “Sa Ugoy Ng Duyan” at the concert!

2. His music career took off when he joined the Tiples de Santo Domingo, the oldest boy’s choir in the Philippines! During his time in the ensemble, he was often featured as a boy soprano soloist.

3. Pete later earned a Bachelor of Music from the University of Santo Tomas, where he joined the acclaimed UST Singers. With the ensemble, he embarked on concert tours to Europe, North America and South America! While he was a student at the UST Conservatory, he performed in Singapore Lyric Opera productions of “Il Pagliacci,” “Cavalleria Rusticana,” “Il Trovatore” and “Macbeth!”

4. Pete’s a passionate and driven music educator. Under his direction, the Immaculate heart of Mary Children’s Choir has won accolades and awards at home and abroad! The ensemble won two silver medals at the 2012 World Choir Games in Cincinnati. They performed at the 2015 National Children’s Chorus Festival at Carnegie Hall, the 2015 International Congress of Pueri Cantores in Vatican City and Rome, and the 2017 Los Angeles County Holiday Celebration at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, among others. Here’s a sample of the choir’s award-winning sound!

5. Pete’s hobbies include gardening and working on DIY projects. He’s also been a huge Lakers fan since 1984!

A photo of Pete Avendaño and his sons at a Laker Game in promotion of FASO@10 at the Alex Theater on November 3, 2018 at 7 p.m.
And undoubtedly, a devoted father.

Be a part of this history-making event as FASO celebrates 10 years of Filipino musical creativity and artistry on Saturday, Nov. 3, 7 p.m., at the Alex Theatre, on 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale, CA 91203. Order tickets online here and check out info on the Alex Theatre’s physical box offices here. Children 2 years of age and under may enter for free. Student discounts and group rates apply. Contact Louie Ramos at luisramos91201@gmail.com, for more info on those special prices.

There are also advertising and sponsorship opportunities! Our 10th anniversary Commemorative Book, which will highlight the orchestra’s legacy and future, has a special advertisement section. Here, members and friends of FASO can submit their own written tributes to the orchestra. Businesses can also submit advertisements that highlight their own services. You can also make a donation and get listed in the book on our Donors & Sponsors page! Find advertisementforms here and view sponsorship forms here! Send all forms for advertisements and sponsorships to ads@fasofoundation.org no later than September 25Questions? Email Claire Espina at claire@edelbergandespina.com

A photo of Joan Cano in promotion of her performance at the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra's “FASO@10: A Decade of Music, Harmony and Community."

Artist Spotlight: Joan Cano

A photo of Joan Cano in promotion of her performance at the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra's “FASO@10: A Decade of Music, Harmony and Community."

On Saturday, November 3  at 7:00 p.m., we’re celebrating 10 years of Music, Harmony and Community with our very own 10th birthday party at the historic Alex Theatre! “FASO@10: A Decade of Music, Harmony and Community” will be featuring lots of spectacular artists. So we’d like you to get to know them before our concert! We’re kicking off this round of our spotlight series with the award-winning soprano Joan Cano!

1. Joan studied at the University of Santo Tomas​, where she was a member and soloist in the acclaimed University of Santo Tomas Singers​. She toured with this ensemble internationally too! In 2007, she earned her Master’s in Vocal Performance from Bowling Green State University​.

2. A decorated soprano, Joan has conquered the Dr. Marjorie Peatree Art Song Competition, National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Buckeye Chapter Competition, the National Music Competitions for Young Artists (NAMCYA) and the Corfu International Music Festival!

3. Joan has performed prominent roles in productions of “The Magic Flute,” “Carmen” and “Karim at Jasmin.” Joan was also featured as a guest soloist in “A Christmas Carol” and Ottorino Resphigi​’s “Laud to the Nativity” at Singapore’s celebrated Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay​.

4. She’s no stranger to FASO. Joan has shared her pristine voice with us at a number of our concerts. Maya birds around the world rejoiced after her rendition of Jose Estella’s “Ang Maya” when we went to the movies at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. Here’s a clip of her performance!

Be a part of this history-making event as FASO celebrates 10 years of Filipino musical creativity and artistry on Saturday, Nov. 3, 7 p.m., at the Alex Theatre, on 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale, CA 91203. Order tickets online here and check out info on the Alex Theatre’s physical box offices here. Children 2 years of age and under may enter for free. Student discounts and group rates apply. Contact Louie Ramos at luisramos91201@gmail.com, for more info on those special prices.

There are also advertising and sponsorship opportunities! Our 10th anniversary Commemorative Book, which will highlight the orchestra’s legacy and future, has a special advertisement section. Here, members and friends of FASO can submit their own written tributes to the orchestra. Businesses can also submit advertisements that highlight their own services. You can also make a donation and get listed in the book on our Donors & Sponsors page! Find advertisementforms here and view sponsorship forms here! Send all forms for advertisements and sponsorships to ads@fasofoundation.org no later than September 25Questions? Email Claire Espina at claire@edelbergandespina.com

An image of clinician Jimmy Borja in promotion of the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra's Songwriting Workshop on August 18 and 19 at Glendale Adventist Academy.

Artist Spotlight: Jimmy Borja, Songwriting Workshop Clinician

An image of clinician Jimmy Borja in promotion of the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra's Songwriting Workshop on August 18 and 19 at Glendale Adventist Academy.

Our special two-day songwriting workshop on August 18 and 19 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Glendale Adventist Academy is just around the corner! Here’s more info on our special workshop here and our registration form here! Get to know one of our accomplished workshop clinicians, songwriter Jimmy Borja, in this last artist spotlight of the series!

1. Jimmy’s most popular song is “Bukas Na Lang Kita Mamahalin.” You can hear it on Sarah Geronimo’s variety show “Sarah G Live!,” the teleserye “Tayong Dalawa” and on “The Voice of the Philippines” (“The Voice Kids Philippines” too!) It even inspired a 2013 teleserye of the same name (and it was the show’s theme song of course!) Here’s a recent rendition of the song by its original interpreter, Lani Misalucha!

2. Jimmy’s credentials are incredible. He’s won Awit Awards for Best Ballad Recording, Best Country-Ballad Recording and Best Regional Recording. His songs have been performed and recorded by Rachelle Ann Go, the Philippine Madrigal SingersLea Salonga, among others. He’s in demand as a songwriting clinician as well. He’s conducted songwriting workshops in Nashville, Chicago and Los Angeles!

3. Wanna hear Jimmy sing one of his works? We’ve got you. Here’s his performance of his song “Truest Heart.”

4. Jimmy is a songwriter of great breadth. While his songs are a mainstay in the OPM songbook, he’s made significant contributions to the Nashville music scene—and to EDM! Check out this remix he did for Armin van Buuren!

Learn the fundamentals of songwriting from Jimmy Borja and Dodjie Simon at our Songwriting Workshop August 18 and 19 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Glendale Adventist Academy at 700 Kimlin Dr, Glendale, CA 91206. For more information, check out our workshop event page here. Apply here. Questions? Email pr@fasofoundation.org

A photo of Dodjie Simon, clinician for the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra's (FASO) Songwriting Workshop.

Artist Spotlight: Dodjie Simon, Songwriting Workshop Clinician

A photo of Dodjie Simon, clinician for the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra's (FASO) Songwriting Workshop.

This summer, FASO’s hosting a special two-day songwriting workshop on August 18 and 19 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Glendale Adventist Academy! Learn more about this special workshop here and sign up here! Get to know one of our accomplished workshop clinicians, songwriter Dodjie Simon, in this special artist spotlight!

1. Does Dodjie Simon sound familiar to you all, FASO fans? At “FASO Goes Pops” at the Alex Theater back in 2015, we performed Dodjie’s “Ikaw Lamang” and “Tatak ng Pilipino” with FASO artists Shelby Miguel and Bryce Gomez respectively! We also performed “Tatak ng Pilipino” with 7-year-old vocalist Mirielle Enrique at “FASO is Bach to Rock!” at the Ford Theatres. Watch our performance below!

2. Dodjie won Grand Prize at the 1999 Metropop Music Festival with his song “Can’t Stop Loving You,” interpreted by Lani Misalucha. His other awards include the Grand Prize at the Asia Song Festival with “You Lift Me Up,” interpreted by Jaya, and second place at the Manila International Song Festival with “One More Time,” also interpreted by Lani Misalucha.

3. Dodjie was former president of KATHA, an organization of Filipino composers, and Vice-President of the Filipino Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (FILSCAP) from 1995 to 2000. He continues to crank out new music through his own music publishing company, Elzar Simon Publishing!

4. Dodjie is leader in both the music world and the corporate world! He’s currently director of New York University‘s Enterprise Data Management Service Management and Infrastructure Support! Over the past 15 years, he’s held CIO-level positions at several other companies.

5. Dodjie earned his degree in Industrial Engineering at the University of the Philippines. Currently based in New York, he’s married to psychiatrist Elise Nazal Simon and together they have three kids: Joshua, Elisha and Grace. He’s also a foodie and enjoys food from a wide variety of cuisines!

Learn the fundamentals of songwriting from Dodjie Simon at our Songwriting Workshop August 18 and 19 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Glendale Adventist Academy at 700 Kimlin Dr, Glendale, CA 91206. For more information, check out our workshop event page here. Apply here. Questions? Email pr@fasofoundation.org

A photo of VJ Rosales in promotion of the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra's Swing the Night Away event on Sunday, May 20, 2018 at the Signature Banquet Hall.

Artist Spotlight: VJ Rosales

Swing the Night Away” is coming up this Sunday, so we’d like you to get to know one of our featured artists, singer-songwriter, vocal coach and musical director VJ Rosales!  Remember to watch him perform this Sunday, May 20 at the Signature Banquet Hall in Granada Hills, Calif. Cocktails at 5:00 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m.! For tickets, call Robert Shroder (818.395.8936) or Arlene Ferrolino (213.248.9850).

1. You may know VJ Rosales best as a member and musical director of the LA-based Filipino-American a cappella group The Filharmonic. Under VJ’s leadership, The Filharmonic has made leaps and bounds in the musical world with their urbanesque hip-hop sound and ’90s nostalgia! They were semifinalists on NBC’S a cappella competition “The Sing-Off,” they played the a cappella group Manila Envy in Universal Pictures’ “Pitch Perfect 2” and they’re a mainstay on “The Late Late Show with James Corden“‘s “Riff-Off” segment! They’ve also shared the stage with Linkin Park, Black Eyed Peas and Pentatonix! And these make up just a portion of their many accomplishments! Here’s a taste of VJ’s a cappella arrangements for The Filharmonic!

2. VJ’s also made a name for himself as a soloist! He offers an impressive collection of covers and original works on his YouTube channel. He’s performed alongside Fifth Harmony and Melissa Polinar, and collaborated with a cappella group VoicePlay and The Filharmonic beatboxer Niko Del Rey in this fantastic arrangement of Jason Derulo‘s “Talk Dirty”!

3. VJ grew up in household of “professional” karaoke singers! His parents forced him to sing at parties, but he secretly loved it. Having reveled in making music as a member of his high school’s marching band and vocal jazz ensemble, he realized that he wanted to pursue music for the rest of his life. After a brief stint pursuing the medical field at California State University Long Beach, VJ turned to music once again while on tour with CSULB’s premiere vocal jazz ensemble Pacific Standard Time. While the ensemble was onstage for a performance, VJ’s teachers offered him a scholarship on that condition that he majors in music! As you can probably tell, he took the offer! He earned a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies from CSULB’s Bob Cole Conservatory of Music.

4. VJ’s considered an expert in the world of a cappella! His membership in musical ensembles in high school and college inspired him to teach aspiring artists. He serves as group director of A Cappella Academy, run by Ben Bram and Avi Kaplan of Pentatonix. He’s also vocal coached and arranged for pro football players on CBS’ “Most Valuable Performer“! For an inside look into his mentorship to students at A Cappella Academy, he has a vlog!

5. Listen up budding artists! VJ loves mentoring young artists like you and has some words of wisdom to offer, “Wake up everyday and understand your passion. Go for that passion no matter what it is. Do you and do it well!”

To close, we can’t help but share VJ’s gorgeous, jazzed up arrangement and performance of CeeLo Green‘s “Forget you“! We’re in love! 💖

Remember to watch VJ Rosales swing with us on Sunday, May 20! Cocktails at 5:00 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m. Signature Banquet Hall is located at 11130 Balboa Blvd. Granada Hills, CA 91344. For tickets, you can call Bob Shroder at 818.395.8936 or Arlene Ferrolino at 213.248.9850.

A head shot of Paul Concepcion in promotion the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra's Holiday Pops Concert at the Arcadia Performing Arts Center on December 8.

Artist Spotlight: Paul Concepion

A head shot of Paul Concepcion in promotion the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra's Holiday Pops Concert at the Arcadia Performing Arts Center on December 8.

Our Holiday Pops Concert is upon us (It’s tomorrow!) And we have one last artist under the spotlight—a pianist beloved throughout the Southern California Filipino-American music community for his talent and signature wit—FASO’s very own Paul Conception, Read up on Paul in our latest spotlight and watch him rock a piano solo in our performance of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue tomorrow night at 6:00 p.m. at the Arcadia Performing Arts Center!

1. Paul earned his Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance at University of the Philippines (UP). He ended up teaching at UP right after his graduation! He later took up graduate studies in Piano Performance at the Musashino Ongaku Daigaku in Tokyo.

2. His musical travels didn’t stop in grad school! Paul performed throughout Europe and North America as the pianist of acclaimed UP Concert Chorus and as a member of the folkloric UP Kasarinlan Ensemble.

3. Paul’s also a choir director! He currently directs the St. Lorenzo Ruiz Church Choir in Walnut, Calif. (one of our community choirs featured in our upcoming Holiday Pops Concert!) He’s directed the choirs of First United Methodist Church in Downtown Los Angeles, Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Temple City, Calif. and St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church in Lomita, Calif.

4. Paul is heavily involved in Southern California’s music scene as an active collaborator and teacher. He’s a member of the American College of
Musicians/National Guild of Piano Teachers and the Whittier Branch of Music Teachers’ Association of California (MTAC). Paul has had the distinction of being MTAC’s past president!

5. A really fun fact: Paul performed for Mrs. Rosalyn and President Jimmy Carter for Mrs. Carter’s eighty-eighth birthday in Plains, Ga.!

Paul Concepcion Jamming at a David Pomeraz and Stephen Bishop Concert

Watch Paul Concepcion rock his piano solo (and our other repertoire!) tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. at the Arcadia Performing Arts Center! Celebrate the holidays with us and support tons of talented FilAm artists at our Holiday Pops Concert. Online ticketing closes today, but you can always order tickets over the phone at 213.248.9850! Or purchase your tickets tomorrow at Arcadia Performing Arts Center’s physical box office right starting at 5:00 p.m. right before the concert! The Arcadia Performing Arts Center is located at 188 Campus Drive, Arcadia, CA 91007. See you all there!

 

GOD Faith Choir Picture with Robert Shroder at the St. Philomena Church Fiesta Concert

Artist Spotlight: GOD Faith Choir

GOD Faith Choir Picture with Filipino American Symphony Orchestra music director Robert Shroder at the St. Philomena Church Fiesta Concert. Photo in promotion of the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra's Holiday Pops Concert on December 9 at the Arcadia Performing Arts Concert.
The GOD Faith Choir with Filipino American Symphony Orchestra music director Robert Shroder at the St. Philomena Church Fiesta Concert

Today, the GOD Faith Choir, an ensemble based in the St. Philomena Catholic Church in Carson, Calif., is under the spotlight! You can watch this ensemble perform as part of a coalition of community choirs at our Holiday Pops Concert on December 9 at the Arcadia Performing Arts Center!

The GOD Faith Choir behind the scenes at rehearsal in promotion of the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra's Holiday Pops Concert on December 9 at the Arcadia Performing Arts Center.
The GOD Faith Choir at rehearsal.

1. The GOD Faith Choir, formerly known as the St. Philomena REP Choir, got started in 2003! Catechists in the St. Philomena Religious Education Program brought students enrolled in St. Philomena catechism classes together to sing for church events in 2003. Since then, the ensemble has touched the lives of 3 generations of choristers!

2. The GOD Faith Choir is a community of kids from all over Carson! They practice every Saturday afternoon as part of the St. Philomena music ministry. And this ensemble can’t do all that it does without its team of volunteer pianists, guitarists, advisers and coordinators, many of which are parents of choristers and St. Philomena catechists!

A photo of the GOD Faith Choir volunteer guitarists in promotion of the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra's Holiday Pops Concert on December 9 at the Arcadia Performing Arts Center.
The GOD Faith Choir’s volunteer guitarists.
A photo of GOD Faith Choir alums and volunteer assistants in promotion of the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra's Holiday Pops Concert on December 9 at the Arcadia Performing Arts Center..From left to right: Megan Dia, Kristelle Arzaga and Camille De Vera.
GOD Faith Choir alumnae and volunteer assistants From left to right: Megan Dia, Kristelle Arzaga and Camille De Vera.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. This ensemble also acts! In 2014, the ensemble performed their first Lenten play, a two-day presentation titled “The Station of the Cross, Via Dolorosa Pantomime,” which featured the choir’s first generation. The cast was 50 members strong! The second generation of the GOD Faith Choir put on another Lenten play titled “Station of the Cross, Via Dolorosa – Re-enactment” in 2016. Both plays were presented to the St. Philomena parish community!

A photo from GOD Faith Choir's 2014 play “The Station of the Cross, Via Dolorosa Pantomime" om 2014. Photo in promotion of the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra's Holiday Pops Concert on December 9 at the Arcadia Performing Arts Center.
The “La Pieta” scene from the GOD Faith Choir’s 2014 play “The Station of the Cross, Via Dolorosa Pantomime” in 2014.

4. The choir had the honor of performing at the Tulak Karunungan (Learn the Knowledge) Benefit Concert, spearheaded by 2009 “CNN Hero of the Year” Efren Peñaflorida. A teacher and social worker, Peñaflorida founded Dynamic Teen Company, an organization that offers education to underserved Filipino youth as an alternative to street gangs. And each year, the GOD Faith Choir performs at the City of Carson Philippine Independence Day Mass, at Veterans Park!

Watch the GOD Faith Choir on Saturday, December 9 at 6:00 p.m. at the Arcadia Performing Arts Center! Celebrate the holidays with us and support tons of talented FilAm artists at our Holiday Pops Concert. You can purchase tickets online through this link or through our ticket extraordinaire, Andy Tecson, at 323.467.5096. The Arcadia Performing Arts Center is located at 188 Campus Drive, Arcadia, CA 91007. See you all there!

Picture of Reymond Umali at the St. Philomena Fiesta Concert
Reymond Umali (on the right) at the St. Philomena Fiesta Concert.

This article was written in memory of the GOD Faith Choir’s Assistant Director Reymond Umali, who recently passed away on November 18 of this year. FASO sends its condolences to Reymond’s family, friends and fellow parish community members.

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