Robert Shroder

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.

FASO to hold its first gala benefit at Hollywood legend’s estate

The Filipino American Symphony Orchestra (FASO), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting Filipino music and artists, and the only Filipino symphony orchestra outside of the Philippines, will hold “A Night of Symphony,” its first ever gala benefit dinner. This gala will take place on June 17 at the majestic estate of Hollywood legend Mary Pickford in Hancock Park, Los Angeles.
Edwin Raquel, one of FASO’s board members, and his family will graciously open their home for this event, which will raise funds to sustain FASO’s concerts and music education programs.
The special evening will honor FASO’s first Excellence in Music awardees and distinguished contributors to the pioneering orchestra’s mission and objectives. The names of the honorees will be announced soon.
This will be a unique chance to be on the sprawling grounds of the former home of iconic silent film actor and producer Mary Pickford, and a prime filming location for movies like the 2011 Oscar Best Picture “The Artist” and “Rocky IV.”
Filipino chefs making Pinoy cuisine a worldwide sensation will prepare a sumptuous dinner.
Guests will be serenaded by FASO under the baton of musical director and conductor Robert “Bob” Shroder. Select performers and Music in Excellence awardees will also entertain the guests.
In addition, guests will have the opportunity to bid on unique auction items, including a week’s stay at an apartment on Champs-Élysées in Paris; a round-trip ticket to Manila via Philippine Airlines plus a trip to Coron, Palawan; a stay at the Handumanan estate in Kalibo, Aklan, with complimentary river cruise and sightseeing to coincide with the popular Ati-Atihan Festival, and a stay at Boracay; and a chance to conduct FASO, no less.
Another highlight will be the Rigodon de Honor, the traditional Filipino dance by couples.
The exciting gala, sponsored by Bank of Hope, Pacific Western Bank, Silver Saddle Ranch & Club, LBC, Omni Hotel, Kanstul Instruments, Philip Stein watch, and the Philippine Department of Tourism, will feature two parts. There will be a meet and greet for a limited number of guests, starting at 4:00 p.m. with the guest of honor, awardees and other distinguished guests.
The second part will be the main event – awards program and dinner – which will begin at 5:30 p.m.
This Gala event is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. This event is also supported in part by a generous grant from the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and the California Arts Council.
For inquiries, contact FASO board members Rocio Nuyda, the gala’s chairperson (818-602-3214, or Jose Luis Garcia (310-936-2988, More details are available here.

FASO brings back ‘Swing the Night Away’

“Swing the Night Away” was such a fun, rousing success in 2014 that the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra (FASO), the only Filipino symphony orchestra outside of the Philippines, is bringing it back on Saturday, March 18 at the Hilton Glendale.

A jam-packed, enjoyable event that had guests dancing to big band gems, “Swing the Night Away” drew many requests for FASO to stage it again. This time, the orchestra, under the baton of musical director and conductor Robert “Bob” Shroder, will play tunes by Earth, Wind & Fire, Kool & the Gang and other artists. Dance Instructors (DIs) will be available on the floor.

Guests can also just sit back, relax and enjoy FASO’s live music, which has drawn standing ovations and cheers in its past concerts. Like in the first “Swing the Night Away” in 2014, the Glendale Hilton’s ballroom will again be the venue of another unforgettable evening.

No host cocktails will start at 6:00 p.m. Dinner will begin at 7:00 p.m.

Tickets are at $125 each (includes dinner). Ticket and sponsorship opportunities information are available through Arlene Ferrolino (213) 248-9850, Bob Shroder (818) 395-8936 and JL Garcia (310) 936-2988. Tickets are also available online at on Eventbrite.

FASO is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. The proceeds will be used to sustain the orchestra and to fund FASO’s education and outreach programs, including its annual summer youth music training program.

Swing the Night Away
March 18, 2017
Cocktails at 6:00 p.m. & Dinner at 7:00 p.m.
Glendale Hilton
100 West Glenoaks Boulevard
Glendale, CA 91202

Sylvia La Torre and Anna Maria Perez de Tagle Perform with FASO

The Philippines’ legendary entertainer, Sylvia La Torre, and her granddaughter, Broadway performer and TV-film actress Anna Maria Perez de Tagle, are special guest artists in Filipino American Symphony Orchestra (FASO)’s summer family concert on August 13.

La Torre and Perez de Tagle will perform a duet and solos with FASO, the only Filipino symphony orchestra outside of the Philippines. The beloved icon and her talented granddaughter singing with a full orchestra will be a landmark Filipino-American musical event.

FASO, under the baton of musical director and conductor Robert “Bob” Shroder, will also play “Peter & the Wolf,” Sergei Prokofiev’s beloved children’s classic (to be narrated by Joan Almedilla), cherished movie and television tunes, including themes from “Star Wars” and “Harry Potter,” Broadway favorites and Filipino music gems.

Titled “FASO Plays Prokofiev’s ‘Peter & the Wolf,’ ” the exciting concert for children and adults will be staged on Saturday, August 13, at the John Wayne Performing Arts Center at 1440 E. Broadway, Glendale, California 91205.

It will be La Torre and Perez de Tagle’s first musical collaboration with FASO. La Torre, a national music treasure who joined a singing contest at the age of five in 1938 in Manila, is acknowledged as the first Filipino artist to enjoy a hugely successful career in all major entertainment fields in the Philippines: radio, television, record, stage and film.

Now based in California, La Torre, known as the Queen of Kundiman and also for her fondly remembered “Ibyang” character in the pioneering days of Philippine entertainment, continues to be a dynamic performer.

Perez de Tagle debuted on Broadway in the acclaimed 2011 revival of “Godspell” where she earned good reviews. The singer-actress’ credits include the film version of “Fame” and the TV shows, “Hannah Montana,” “Camp Rock” and “Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam.” With several records under her name, Perez de Tagle, whose early singing coach was her famous grandmother, has toured with Demi Lovato and the Jonas Brothers.

The FASO Children’s Ensemble will also be spotlighted in the latest concert of FASO, which is noted for its entertaining and quality concerts. The trailblazing orchestra is comprised of volunteer musicians from various sectors of the Fil-Am community.

Festivities on August 13 begin at 4:00 p.m. with an orchestra instrument petting zoo and face painting in the theater lobby and food trucks in front of the theater on Broadway Street. Bring your “Star Wars” lightsabers and “Harry Potter” wands. The concert starts at 6:00 p.m.

For tickets, call Andy Tecson (323) 467-5096; Bob Shroder (818) 395-8936; and Arlene Ferrolino (213) 248-9850. Tickets are also available on Eventbrite. Tickets are at $30, $40, $60, $75 and $100.

A non-profit organization, FASO is led by a board of directors dedicated to keeping FASO as a Fil-Am cultural institution for many generations to appreciate. The board is made up of Arlene Ferrolino (president), Luis Ramos (vice president), Susan Legaspi (treasurer), John Mina (secretary) and directors Charina Carrera, Claire Espina, Jose Luis Garcia, Amirah May Limayo, Wendy Mazon, Ruben Nepales, Rocio Nuyda, Asuncion Ojeda, Carmelita O’Neil and Edwin Raquel.

Multiple Grammy nominee David Benoit is an honorary member.

FASO Plays Prokofiev’s ‘Peter & the Wolf’
August 13, 2016
Festivities at 4:00 p.m. & Concert at 6:00 p.m.
John Wayne Performing Arts Center
1440 E Broadway
Glendale, CA 91205

Filipino-American Symphony Orchestra Goes POPS! for One Night Only at the Alex Theatre

Did you know that Los Angeles is home to the only Filipino symphony orchestra outside of the Philippines? For the past seven years, the Filipino-American Symphony Orchestra, led by conductor and music director, Robert Shroder, has charmed audiences with its artistry, dedication to excellence and passion for beautiful music.

On November 14, FASO will, for the first time, venture into the pop realm for its latest concert, FASO Goes Pops! The program will feature both mainstream Pop Music and Original Pilipino Music from U.S.-based Filipino composers including Oscar-winner Robert Lopez (“Let It Go”), Cecile Azarcon (“Lift Up Your Hands”), Odette Quesada (“Give Me a Chance” and “Till I Met You”), SJ Gandia (“Tayo ay Pilipino” and “Hanggang Huli’y Ikaw”), Aaron Paul del Rosario (“Minsan Lang Kitang Iibigin”) and Dodjie Simon (“Tatak ng Pilipino” and “Ikaw Lamang”). Many of them will be in attendance at the concert which takes place at the Alex Theatre in Glendale.

FASO Goes POPS! is another FASO special concert,” says Robert Shroder. “It is very exciting for us to feature the works of some of our talented U.S.-based Filipino composers and songwriters. We also auditioned local Pinoy talent to interpret their songs for this concert and have provided them a series of vocal workshops to educate and help enhance their singing techniques and musicianship. A typical pop concert is usually accompanied by a small band, often only four to five pieces, or in some cases the singers perform with tracks. This is a rare opportunity for our pop singers to perform with a symphony orchestra. It is part of our commitment to educate and provide quality symphonic programming to our community.”

Singers who wished to perform with the orchestra took part in three rounds of auditions before being chosen. The youngest will be six-year-old actress, Sophie Nack (Sadie on NBC’s Truth Be Told, along with Bryce Gomez, Ian Chen (Evan Huang on ABC’s Fresh off the Boat), Jokai Dawson, Sydney Haik, Gian Paolo Jimenez, Michael Keith Pronda, Mikaela Bautista, Therese Masangcay, Denise Gonzales, Gabrielle Current (2015 Rose Princess), Shelby Miguel, Kaitlyn Fajilan and Daryl Ogalino (ABS-CBN’s TFCkat USA Grand Singing Champion 2012 and Tawag ng Tanghalan Grand Singing Champion 2008).

They will join Dennis Jardiel, Erwin Andaya, Mike Zuniga, Nilo Alcala and Sharon Rose Orosco as guest vocalists.

Also featured on the program is the FASO Children’s Ensemble, composed of Sophie Nack, Andreas Makiling, Elizabeth Cruz, Casteen Legaspi, Nicole Padilla, Jolleen Mejia and Sabrina Evangelista.

“FASO Goes Pops! will not disappoint,” says FASO board president Arlene Ferrolino. “Staying true to its vision of being the vehicle for artistic excellence in the Filipino community and being an avenue of growth in helping to develop love and pride of Filipino music, this concert will feature the best of Filipino-American talents.”

The Filipino-American Symphony Orchestra consists of approximately 55 orchestra members. They’re computer scientists, software engineers, criminal investigators, health professionals, among other professions by day. But at night, you’ll find them making music in the rehearsal room.

November 14, 2015 (7:00 p.m.)
Alex Theatre
216 North Brand Boulevard
Glendale, CA 91203

Unique Fil-Am orchestra to open San Diego PH independence fetes

SAN DIEGO, California – The first and only Filipino symphony orchestra outside of the Philippines will perform on Friday, June 5 as part of the opening night festivities for the 2015 Philippine American Celebration in Balboa Park.

Led by artistic director Maestro Robert Shroder, the Los Angeles-based Filipino American Symphony Orchestra (FASO) has performed works by internationally renowned composer Ryan Cayabyab and legendary Filipino composers Felipe Padilla de Leon, Antonio Buenaventura, George Canseco, Will Cruz and Fr. Ricky Manalo.

Joining FASO on stage for a first-of-its-kind collaboration are company members from performing arts groups from San Diego and Los Angeles: Kayamanan Ng Lahi Philippine Folk Arts, Malaya Filipino American Dance Arts, PASACAT Philippine Performing Arts Company and Samahan Filipino American Performing Arts & Education Center.

On Saturday, BIBAK Youth of San Diego and two San Francisco-based arts groups, Barangay Dance Company and Likha Pilipino Folk Ensemble, are highlighted in a showcase of Lumad dances. The performances will take place at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in costuming that reflects the rich diversity of traditions and cultures found in the tribes and provinces of the islands.

“We are very excited to take the stage with our fellow Filipino American artists from San Diego and throughout the state,” said Patrick Ambrosio, event co-chair and member of Samahan. “It is truly an honor to be part of such a special performance for this event.”

The Philippine American Celebration takes place June 5-7 in Balboa Park at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion and the House of Pacific Relations lawn.

Admission to event is free and programming over the three-day weekend will include traditional and contemporary performances, exhibitions and demonstrations as well as food and merchandise vendors, a beer garden, and more.

The festivities continue the week of June 8-12 with daily, all-ages cultural performances and activities hosted by the House of the Philippines that culminate with a flag raising ceremony to mark 117 years of Philippine independence.

2015 Philippine American Celebration Performance
June 5, 2015
Spreckels Organ Pavilion
Pan American Road E
San Diego, CA 92101

Filipino-American Symphony Orchestra & The Movies

Just a little more than a year ago the newly christened Filipino-American Symphony Orchestra (FASO) debuted with a gala concert at the Saban Theatre in Hollywood, mesmerizing the audience with elegant artistry.

Next came a holiday season concert, where the 65-member orchestra wowed the community once more with a commanding performance and amazing choirs and vocalists.

The third time promises to be just as charming when music lovers from throughout the Filipino-American community in Southern California get treated to another unique concert, this one scheduled for Saturday, July 10, at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.

The upcoming concert will offer more than music, appealing also to film buffs. Indeed the performance is billed as “FASO Goes to the Movies,” and will feature renditions of famous songs from the silver screen, including themes from well-loved Hollywood and Filipino movies.

FASO has earned a reputation for putting on amazing shows, but organizers are especially excited about this one, calling the repertoire “a feast for the soul and the senses.” The performance will bring the usual auditory experience, but also offer a visual experience and a unique display of authentic Filipino culture.

The visuals will come from video clips of famous movies shown as FASO plays the accompanying theme, according to Musical Director and Conductor Bob Shroder. The effect will not only accentuate the song but will also trigger memories, with the short clips reinforcing the emotions set off by the music of the live orchestra.

The concert will also hew to FASO’s mission by including a grand display of the Philippines’ rich culture through movies and themes from the Pacific Island nation. The effort marks a continuation of Shroder’s efforts to ensure that each FASO concert will not just feature a symphony orchestra will also provide a Filipino cultural experience for the audience.

“Our objective is to bring Filipino culture to America via a repertoire of Filipino music, as performed by a live orchestra, most of whom are Filipino musicians,” Shroder says.

Roger Oriel, founder of FASO and chairman of the Asian Journal Foundation, a driving force in support of the orchestra, says that all the effort is about the musicians as well as the music.

“The goal of Filipino artists must be to maximize their full potential and showcase their God-given talents to inspire and benefit the world,” Oriel said. “Our challenge at Asian Journal Foundation is to give to these Filipino artists the support they need to reach that goal, through the Filipino-American Symphony Orchestra. FASO Goes to the Movies will surely showcase the outstanding talents of our Filipino artists here in LA.”

Many Filipino-Americans are expected to travel for hours for the concert, based on turnouts at FASO’s first two events.

“FASO has touched a chord in the community’s heart,” says Lito Cruz, a co-founder of the orchestra. “It has become its muse in the short time since its first concert. But as the saying goes, how do you keep the music playing? By supporting FASO.”

Ticket sales for all three of FASO’s performances have been brisk, indicating that the community is touched and willing to support the effort.

“Many families and organizations have bought tickets early to get the good seats,” said Andy Tecson, who plays the violin in the orchestra and is one of those in charge of ticket sales.

“We certainly won’t miss this third concert,” said Virgie, a Filipino-American teacher who lives in Los Angeles. “I’m so excited to hear my favorite Hollywood and Filipino movie themes played by FASO.”

The musical pieces will range from Hollywood classics such as the themes from “Somewhere in Time,” “Gone with the Wind,” “Dr. Zhivago,” “Star Wars,” “Schindler’s List,” “Titanic,” and “Scent of a Woman.” Filipino favorites will include themes and clips from films such as “Maalaala Mo Kaya?” (Do You Remember?), “May Bukas Pa” (There is Tomorrow), and a number of George Canseco songs.

FASO Goes to the Movies will feature well-known guest vocalists, including Edsel Sotiangco, who will sing “Over the Rainbow” from “The Wizard of Oz,” “Go the Distance” from “Hercules,” and a medley of Filipino theme songs. Ed and Annie Nepomuceno will sing a couple of duets from the movies “Maalaala Mo Kaya? (Do You Remember?)” and “Hindi Kita Malimot (I Won’t Forget You).” Soprano Joan Cano will sing “Ang Maya” from the movie of the same title.

“Each FASO concert takes you to another time and place,” Oriel says. “Seeing the joy in the faces of the orchestra members and the audience makes it all worthwhile. I know we’ve done something right. And if it brings harmony in the community, then FASO has found a home in every Filipino’s heart.”

For tickets for FASO Goes to the Movies, call Andy Tecson at (213) 300-4870; Bob Shroder at (818) 395-8936; Amirah Limayo (213) 820-5248; or the offices of the Asian Journal (213)250-9797.

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