After coming together in 2013, singing group The Filharmonic competed on season four of NBC’s “The Sing-Off.”
Even though the group was eliminated on the sixth episode of the show’s seven episodes, the group said it was excited for the opportunities the show offered.
“We were just happy to be a part of it,” said Barry Fortgang, one of the members.
Composed of Filipino men, the a cappella group sings pop and rhythm and blues melodies ranging from Bruno Mars to Aerosmith.
Two of the group’s members have their roots in Henderson. One of them, Fortgang, fought the idea of going into music.
“I wanted to be a baseball player,” he said.
Both his parents were music teachers with the Clark County School District.
“So by 4 or 5, they introduced me to singing,” he said.
Reluctantly, Fortgang kept singing. By the time he got to high school, he discovered he had a passion for music when he performed in a high school musical.
He is currently studying at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy: College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts in California.
Jules Cruz remembers failing his music class in elementary school.
“I don’t even know how that’s possible,” he said. “I was told I refused to sing.”
In middle school he tried to get in any class but music.
“I wanted to be in orchestra or band,” he said. “I thought (choir) wasn’t cool and maybe girls wouldn’t like me.”
However, after registering for school late, he ended up in choir. He started to love his choice.
He is now a double major in music and biology at Mt. San Antonio College in California.
Cruz and Fortgang met through mutual friends, also musicians.
When they went away to college, both pursued opportunities to be a part of musical groups.
In early 2013, they began discussing the idea of creating an all-male a cappella group.
The first time the group members met to perform together was May 13, the same day their audition tape had to be mailed in for “The Sing-Off,” a competition that features top a cappella groups from around the country.
“It was stressful, but it went a lot smoother than I expected,” Cruz said. “Everything seemed to click.”
The tape included mixes of Justin “Suit and Tie,” Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” and Montell Jordan’s “This is How We Do It.”
Just a week after they sent in the tape, the group members started to hear positive feedback.
A month later, the group was invited to be on “The Sing-Off.”
“I almost fainted,” Fortgang said. “ ‘The Sing-Off’ might not be a huge deal to some people, but we really wanted to be in it.”
Cruz said he didn’t have high expectations on how far the group would advance.
“But we held our own,” he said.
The opportunity allowed the group to grow and learn from other talented musicians.
“It pretty much is the best experience of my life,” Fortgang said. “It’s great to be able to focus on what we love.”
The Filharmonic is slated to go on a national tour with other show finalists in February. So far, no Nevada dates are planned.
“We will be taking notes,” Fortgang said. “We are with other groups so we can learn from them. It’s a great learning experience.”
He added that the group is still discussing what to do next, whether it is to develop an actual boy band, in which the group would starting producing original material, or work on an album of cover songs.
“We are feeling it out right now,” Fortgang said. “We just want to continue to grow. We haven’t reached our peak yet. So it will just keep getting better as we keep rising.”
For more information, visit thefilharmonic.com. For a schedule of tour dates, visit singofftour.com.
Contact Henderson/Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5201.