music education and outreach

A photo of Filipino American Symphony Orchestra (FASO) musical director Robert "Bob" Shroder driving students at a FASO Music Education Workshop in a jeepney at the Pilipino Workers Center in Echo Park, Los Angeles.

Vocal Workshop | Kids Grades 3-12

Join one of our clinicians for a Music Education workshop designed to encourage healthy singing for vocalists grades 3 – 12 on Saturday, February 23, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Interested? New applicants, fill out our application form hereReturning students, sign up for a new workshop here.

If you’d like to learn more about what we do our Music Education & Outreach Program, check out our web page!


Call for Solo Auditions for Young Vocalists: Sing with Us at Our Summer Concert

The Filipino American Symphony Orchestra is calling for young vocalists, from grades 3 to 12, to audition for solo spots at our summer concert on Saturday, August 3, 2019.

To sign up for an audition, submit the application form below. Applicants must also provide a link to a prescreening video clip of themselves singing any song of their choice in the application form. The clip may not exceed more than 4 minutes in length. YouTube links are preferred. However, if the candidate has performed with FASO before, this prescreening video requirement is waived.

The application form and sample video clip are due Saturday, March 2. Those who pass the pre-screen will be invited to our live auditions on Saturday, March 16 in Los Angeles. The time and venue of the audition will be provided in your invitation letter.

If you’re invited to our live auditions, you’ll be asked to perform two songs. The first audition piece must be selected from the list of songs below. The songs on the list are part of our Disney Hall concert repertoire. When you select a song from the list as your audition piece, you will be auditioning to perform that song at our concert. The second audition piece can be any song of your choice that best showcases your own vocal style and abilities. If you’d like, your second audition piece can also be selected from the list below.

Choose your audition pieces wisely. We recommend selecting pieces that you’re most comfortable with and that best fits your vocal range. But when selecting your second piece, take into consideration the popularity of a prospective song as an audition piece. If you select a popular audition piece, then you’ll most likely be competing with more candidates. If you select a less popular audition piece, then the odds of being selected will be much more favorable with fewer candidates to select from. If we don’t find a candidate suitable for any of the songs below, we reserve the right to exclude the song from the concert repertoire.

Additional details regarding the live auditions will be provided in your invitation if you’re selected. Good luck!

Questions? Email Louie Ramos at luisramos91201@gmail.com.

Audition Pieces

1. Sa Ugoy ng Duyan (Solo)
2. Ili-Ili Tulog Anay (Solo)
3. Caturog na Nonoy (Solo)
4. A Million Dreams
• Solo
• Duet of Child Vocalist AND Their Parent

Listening Tracks

Here are a few listening tracks to help participants learn audition pieces from our repertoire.

1. Sa Ugoy ng Duyan
Vocal Model
Minus One

2. Ili-Ili Tulog Anay
Vocal Model

3. Caturog na Nonoy:
Vocal Model
Minus One (Verse Only)

4. A Million Dreams Solo version:
Solo Vocal Model
Duet Vocal Model

A photo of scholarship winner and FASO violinist Kaitlin Aquino in promotion of FASO@10 at the Alex Theater on Saturday, November 3, at 7:00 p.m.

Artist Spotlight: FASO Violinist & Scholarship Winner Kaitlin Aquino

A photo of scholarship winner and FASO violinist Kaitlin Aquino in promotion of FASO@10 at the Alex Theater on Saturday, November 3, at 7:00 p.m.

FASO@10 is this Saturday! For this special artist spotlight, we’re announcing the winner of our first-ever Filipino American Symphony Orchestra College Scholarship. This scholarship for graduating high school seniors required each applicant to write an essay in response to this prompt: “What does Philippine music mean to you?”

One of our youngest violinists, Kaitlin Aquino won with her riveting essay on her complicated relationship with her dual Filipina and American identities. Kaitlin’s a first-year English major at the University of California, Irvine with a strong passion for the performing arts, namely writing, and vocal, theatre and orchestral performance. She delights in being able to combine all four as a novice writer! Kaitlin’s also a member of the team behind our new Youth String Ensemble.

As a special treat for ya’ll, we’re sharing her winning essay below. We hope to see you all at FASO@10 this Saturday, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m. at the Alex Theatre! Enjoy!

Kaitlin Aquino’s Winning Essay for the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra College Scholarship

“You’re Filipino.”

“No, I’m not.” I retorted to my dad petulantly. I, at the age of six, would have never identified myself as so. “I’m American.”

“No,” he said gently. “You’re Filipino.”

“No, I am not.” I glared at him, denying his denial. “I’m American!”

“You’re Filipino!” he exclaimed. The corners of his mouth upturned. Much to my chagrin, he found my infantile frustration amusing.

I fought the urge to wail. It wasn’t easy trying to be taken seriously when you’re six. Insistent, I balled my hands into fists and huffed. “I am an American!” I am unsure of how such a conversation between my dad and I came about. But its unknown origin pales in comparison to its true meaning. I used those angry six-year-old hands to eat my “baon” at school–homemade “mongo” or adobo–until I was “busog;” turn on the fountain and quench my thirst with heaping gulps of running “tubig;” and greet my dad after school with a warm embrace when he arrived to pick me up and take me back to our “bahay.” And yet, with those same six-year-old hands I expressed a vehement, unequivocal rejection of the culture that had always been a constant, friendly presence in my life.

Now, before you raise your chin in contempt for a six-year-old version of myself, I entreat you to think twice before you judge. Though prevalent in my daily life, my Filipino culture only ran as deeply as the broken Tagalog I understood. At eleven years old, I spent an ordinary afternoon at the mall with my dad, my “titos” and “titas.” But it didn’t take long until this humble outing took an unexpected turn.

As we made our way through the corridors, mid-conversation, we suddenly stopped. Panicking, I brought my hand to my face, wiping the wetness away. Peering through stinging, water-filled eyes, I could barely make out the looks of sheer confusion and horror on my relatives’ faces. With tears down my face and a sniffling, snot-filled nose, I felt overwhelmingly like a pathetic baby in front of all my “titos” and “titas.” Already eleven, I was long past the stage of emotional instability. Bursting into tears in public without reason just wasn’t acceptable past age eight anymore.

Ridiculous as this sob session was, it came from a genuine place. While we were out and about at the mall, my relatives only spoke English if they absolutely had to. Otherwise, they talked up storms, hurricanes, cyclones in the language they knew best: Tagalog. So, while they all listened to each other intently, I sat picking at my portion of mall food, understanding little to nothing.

This wasn’t new to me. This was what spending time with them was usually like. But that’s why I cried so hard. I’d had enough of being excluded by my own family members. I knew they loved me and had no intention of leaving me out. But I let my frustration and grief build up for too long.

Unfortunately, I’ve never felt truly connected with anyone from my extended family.

Although no language barrier separated myself from my “ates” and “kuyas,’ a generational gap certainly did. Being the youngest of my generation, it was never easy for me to try bridging the 20-year age gap between myself and my cousins. Who could’ve guessed that people 20 years apart had vastly different interests?

Instead of seeing the truth of the matter—my inability to speak Tagalog and to truly understand the struggles of those much older—I blamed my culture.

The media didn’t make it any harder for me to hate my Filipino roots either. Although I don’t remember a particular show or movie expressing a distaste for foreign heritages, the overconsumption and subsequent glorification of American pop culture, coupled with my attendance at a school whose students weren’t the most celebratory of things foreign, subconsciously led me to believe my Filipino heritage was something to be embarrassed about. And being the impressionable grade-schooler I was, I accepted it. I told my dad I wanted Lunchables for “baon” instead of his home cooked meals. I often looked in the mirror, lamenting over my absence of pale skin, blue eyes, and blonde hair. I covered my ears every time Freddie Aguilar’s “Anak” played in the car. I wanted to be American, not Filipino.

Obviously, my logic carries a huge flaw. I didn’t hate being Filipino. I didn’t hate coming home to a big bowl of “sinigang” after a long day, or doing karaoke at parties until the wee hours of the morning, or having annual Pacquiao fight viewing parties. Rather, I hated that I wasn’t immersed in my Filipino heritage enough, so that it could serve as an outlet to further connect me with my Filipino family. I made the mistake of equating family and culture: I sensed my family’s disapproval of myself, so I renounced their culture.

But as I’ve grown, I’ve had many enriching experiences that have led me to rethink my cruel misjudgment of my Filipino heritage—my experiences at FASO, consist of several. Just being surrounded by professional Filipino musicians was enough to re-instill, in me, a sense of Pinoy pride. But aside from being impressive, my fellow orchestra members were also very caring and kind. I’ll never forget how welcome they made both me feel, despite our crippling nervousness, as first-year apprentices.

I miss the Tuesdays my dad would pick me up from theatre and take me to FASO rehearsal. Admittedly, it was stressful. I was constantly scrambling to do some homework in the car before he parked in the church’s lot. Consistently, I entered the building anxious over the deadlines I had to meet. But after sitting down, picking up my violin, and taking in the warmth and artistic passion that filled the atmosphere, my concerns with my homework, my guilt over my past efforts to separate myself from Filipino culture, and my loneliness seemed to melt away. The only concern of importance was making sure the music we played—whether classical European, American contemporary, or Philippine folk—sounded the best it could be. And after two full hours of serenading the night away—the duration of our rehearsal complete—I always left hungry to play more.

To me, Philippine music is my way of reconnecting with the culture I wrongfully tried to cast aside. Whenever I played, through FASO, I felt relief and reconciliation—a time to heal the cultural wound I unthinkingly inflicted on myself.

Of course, it didn’t solve all my problems. I may feel a bit more connected to my “ates,” “kuyas,” “titos,” and “titas” than before, but the ever-present disconnect between us will never fail to make my heart ache.

It’s sad to say that this problem of mine is not a unique one. First-generation Americans all over the nation suffer from cultural identity crises; as they tread between several distinct cultures, they will never be able to fully submerge themselves in all, or even one.

As wonderful it would be to change the course of American pop culture and put national hostility toward foreigners to rest, it is unrealistic to hope for such a thing in the near or even far-reaching future. Instead, I think the solution is right in front of our eyes.

We don’t need to eliminate the cultural identity crisis today’s minority children face. Although my experience was grueling and painful, I wouldn’t trade it for anything easier. More than just a difficult experience, mine was a journey of self-discovery. And if others must take a similar painful path in order achieve something as priceless as cultural security and self-confidence, then so be it. As strange as it sounds, we need our minority children to struggle. For it will breed strength. And they need to be as tough as nails if they want to succeed.

So as Filipino and other minority children embark on their respective journeys of self-discovery, it’s my hope that cultural sanctuaries, like FASO, can help guide them in the right direction. Maybe they too will let the music of their own culture lead them out of their self-imposed darkness.

For a Filipino who can barely speak Tagalog, Philippine music is my cultural savior. Hopefully, music from other cultures can serve the same purpose.

At age fifteen, my dad called me American.

No longer the pouty, Pinoy-hating six-year-old I was, I replied, “No, I’m Filipino.”

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.

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

The finale of the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra (FASO) Music Recital in 2017, which culminated its 2016-2018 Music Education & Outreach Program. Photo by Rick Gavino.

Music Education & Outreach Recital

Watch our Music Education & Outreach students show off what they’ve learned on Saturday, June 9 at 2:00 p.m. at Fritchman Auditorium, located at the First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles! This event is a culminating activity for students who participated in our 2017-2018 Music Education Workshop season! The program will feature both vocal and instrumental performances. This is an adjudicated recital: students will perform for the community, for their fellow musicians and for a panel of music professionals. They’ll receive written evaluations of their performance from our panel.

The program will have two intermissions. A reception with light refreshments will follow.

This ticketed recital is open to the public, but there is no box office onsite. To purchase tickets, please contact Louie Ramos at luisramos91201@gmail.com.

The event is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, the California Arts Council, and John DeFato. For more info on our Music Education Workshop Program, check out our web page.

A photo of Filipino American Symphony Orchestra (FASO) musical director Robert "Bob" Shroder driving students at a FASO Music Education Workshop in a jeepney at the Pilipino Workers Center in Echo Park, Los Angeles.

Vocal Workshop | Kids Grades 3-12

Note: Due to popular demand, we’ve opened up an afternoon session from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.!

Join one of our clinicians for a Music Education workshop designed to encourage healthy singing for vocalists grades 3 – 12. We offer two sessions, one from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and one from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.! Interested? New applicants, fill out our application form hereReturning students, sign up for a new workshop here.

If you’d like to learn more about what we do our Music Education & Outreach Program, check out our web page!


©Filipino American Symphony Orchestra. All Rights Reserved 2012-2016

Web Design by Ishkaster Media