Angels we may have heard on high, but angelic voices can be found on Earth, too
Classical music is pretty boring stuff. It's not a mainstream genre, and few aspiring singers would choose it if they want to light up the sky like a flame. But here come the Angelos, whose creative renditions of the classics have set them apart from all the bubblegum pop groups.
It was in September 2007 that the Angelos entered the entertainment scene. Singer George Sison-Tagle, one of the group's founding members, introduced the quartet at his first major concert. From then on, the Angelos, named for co-founder and world-renowned pianist Angelo Ortiz's name has been flapping its wings.
Sison-Tagle believed from the very start that the group he co-founded would make it big. “I just knew people would like it,” he says. And the proof can be seen today. He says that the group has helped make classical music more accessible. “The masses can hear the Angelos now. So the opera is revived and in that way, we also educate people,” he adds.
The Angelos have already performed in front of audiences in the United States, Hong Kong, Macau, and Spain. And in just two years, the group has already won in the 2009 Aliw Awards for Best Concert Performance. Instead of resting on their laurels, this made them want to work harder.
“This group is luckier for winning an award,” Sison-Tagle says of the fact that three of its members, Louie Abaigar, Paolo Libiran, and Miguel Aguila, are not the original members, they became part of the group in 2008.
Manager Charo Garcia-Yu even boasts that the group have performed in Riverrock Show Theater, a venue where only world class performers are allowed to take the center stage. “This year they (Riverrock) want us back and that's on May 8,” she says.
Members Abaigar and Libiran both agree that the Riverrock concert was the grandest stage they have been on yet. “There were many Filipinos there, and they were all very warm,” Libiran adds.
Anything But a Second Rate Copycat
Angelos is often compared to internationl singing group Il Divo. Sison-Tagle admits that at first it was fine with him since both groups are into classical music.
But lately, he says, he wants to break away from this because they also have to be unique. “Il Divo sing in languages like Spanish and Italian, but they don't sing in Chinese and Filipino like we do,” he says.
One of the reasons the Angelos has been doing good, Sison-Tagle says, is the fact that members are very young, and don't focus on classical music alone. “We do crossovers so we cater everyone, young and old. Our youngest member is only 15 years old. So even the youth can now appreciate classical music,” says Sison-Tagle.
Another is that it's a group, making the group more versatile. He explains that if you're a soloist, and the audience gets tired of listening to you, that's the end of your career. With four members, you're saving yourself from extinction. “What's good there is that the other members dance. They do RnB, they do Michael Jackson. So it's really not boring,” he adds.
Although there are differences among the members, each shares the same passion for both singing and the classical genre. Abaigar opines that all of them are doing it out of love. He says they're not afraid if people don't like them at first because “we're doing it out of love, out of passion.”
Sison-Tagle had already established his solo singing career when he decided to form a group. This move aroused questions from people asking why he would bother with a group when he can do it alone. His simple answer: “it's because this is what I want."
But long before he started his singing career, George had also been into painting (he lives in his house/gallery, the Gallery of Fine Arts), acquiring the talent from his painter father, E.R. Tagle. When asked to choose between painting and singing, he said the he chose both because the two belong to the same world, art.
John Louie Abaigar
Called the Little Boy Soprano for singing opera even at a young age, Abaigar had been jumping from one genre to another until he finally joined the Angelos to go back to singing classical. He was a finalist in GMA 7's Pinoy Pop Superstar, and there, he experienced singing in every musical style except classical. He then told himself he wanted to sing the classice, and so being asked to join the Angelos was an answered prayer for him.
He joined the group not only to be able to perform in a unique genre, but also because even as a child, he realized that “classical is something very good, very nice.”
Rei Paolo Libiran
Libiran is principally a dancer. He only started singing when he reached fourth year high school. Despite being new to the world of singing, he took a voice major (Tenor) in college, and this led him to discover classical music.
He says that when he started with Angelos, he didn't feel any anxiety that the group would not get popular for singing in a style that not everyone appreciates. Just like Louie, he wants to sing classical to be different, and he actually finds it a challenge because classical is harder to sing compared to pop. “We want to show that Filipino are really talented. That we don't only sing pop, but we can also do classical,” he says.
Although the youngest in the group, Miguel is not to be belittled. At his young age of 15, he has already won numerous awards. Enough, at least, to put him in the Hall of Fame in the Aliw Awards for Best Child Performance.
Aside from performing with Angelos, he also does solo performances singing various music genres like RnB, pop, and jazz. He sometimes acts on television, too. He once played the young Dennis Trillo in GMA 7's soap opera “Majika.”
Like the two other members, he also dances, but when asked if he were to choose between singing and dancing, he would choose singing. “I think it's because many people can dance unlike singing. Well, many people can also sing, but the genuine singing talent, only a few have that. The kind of singing that would make everyone really listen,” he says.
Print ed: 03/10