It has been four years since Filipino music’s gem and tireless advocate Maestro Ryan Cayabyab had the spirited idea to come up with a nationwide competition that will spotlight yet another music field in which Filipinos excel—the acappella. With the country well known for its choirs in many parts of the world, the composer believed that to come up with a genre not too common locally was the for singing ensembles that would like to deviate from church groups, and be recognized as legitimate singing ensemble.
With the support of PLDT-Smart Foundation, One Meralco Foundation and The Music School of Ryan Cayabyab, the Akapela Open was thus born in 2013 with the objectives of providing opportunities for contemporary group singers to showcase their performances; come up with original arrangements of local and international songs for the genre; and to create a community of contemporary acappella singers.
Since then, Akapela Open has produced two of the best contemporary groups in the country, Acapellago and Pinopela. The past three years saw them battle against each other on the contest stage. Both these groups have won in several international competitions after having won Akapela Open’s Grand Prize in separate years.
Acapellago won as overall champion in the International A Cappella Championships in Singapore in July of 2015. This was followed by Pinopela’s winning Gold in International Category, Judges’ Choice and Overall Champion in the same competition on July 2, this year. Two members snagged additional recognition: Gold in Looping category for Zsaris Mendioro and Most Impressive Vocalist for Anthony Castillo.
Acapellago, now a Viva group artist, continued their winning streak when they bagged first runner up in the 2016 Vocal Asia, Asian Acappella Cup in Taitung, Taiwan on August 17. And again, they went on to compete on September 24, in the A Cappella Asia Pacific championship league in Singapore. This time they brought honor to our country when they were declared overall champion, prevailing over the best a cappella groups from Malaysia, Hong Kong, Australia, Taiwan and Singapore. Moreover, members Ron Laderas won as best bass performer and Michelle Corpus won as best lead vocalist. The group also bagged the audience award. This is truly a noteworthy accomplishment and a crowning glory for the contemporary a cappella movement in our country.
These two groups, now considered the country’s leaders in contemporary acappella, hope that more singing ensembles from around the Philippines will also have their chance at the spotlight as they did as the finals night of the 2016 Akapela Open draws near. Slated on November 5 at the Meralco Theater, a new champion will emerge to join Acapellago and Pinopela in strengthening contemporary group singing in the music industry.
A total of 10 finalists are up for the title in Astrafellas, Calafellas, Conchords, Doo-Wop Sounds, Fratoneity, GVabs, MVibe, PhiSix, Street Voice, Ten Thousand.
Tickets to the Akapela Open Finals Night are available at The Music School of Ryan Cayabyab. Call 637-9840 for more information.