Filipino American Student Association features student talent in annual showcase

Vincent+Academia+performs+at+the+Students+for+Pilipino+American+History+Month+showcase+in+the+Grand+Salon+at+CSUN+in+Northridge%2C+Calif.%2C+on+Oct.+30%2C+2021.

Sonia Gurrola

Vincent Academia performs at the Students for Pilipino American History Month showcase in the Grand Salon at CSUN in Northridge, Calif., on Oct. 30, 2021.

Brandon Sarmiento, Contributor

The CSUN Filipino American Student Association gave a platform for students to share their talents on the Grand Salon stage with the organization’s annual Students for Pilipino American History Month showcase on Oct. 30.

Entering it’s 24th year, the SPAHM showcase has since served as a way to give Filipino Americans in FASA and the CSUN community a platform to share their talents.

Consisting of a lineup of Filipino American students, alumni and local music artists, the show offered a variety of performances for everyone in attendance to enjoy. Some of these acts included singing, stand-up comedy, dancing and original short films.

FASA President Kayla Gellekanao was excited for this year’s showcase because this year’s event would consist of live in-person performances, as opposed to virtually like last year’s event due to the pandemic.

“This event was used to give them the spotlight and also to celebrate Filipino American History Month by connecting the audience with their culture,” Gellekanao said.

Jamie Avecilla, left, also known as JamieBoy, sings while Nick Pacoli plays the keyboard at the Students for Pilipino American History Month showcase in the Grand Salon at CSUN in Northridge, Calif., on Oct. 30, 2021.

Headlining the showcase was JamieBoy, a rising Filipino American singer from Oxnard, California.

“Shout out to all the talented Filipinos, we’re hella talented,” JamieBoy exclaimed as he prepared to begin his performance — expressing his gratitude for being able to share the stage with other young and talented Filipinos.

For his set, JamieBoy performed original music, such as his new single “Solid,” and his most popular track “You Got It,” which has racked up over 1 million streams on Spotify.

He then capped off his performance with covers, including “U Don’t Have to Call” by Usher, as well as a remix that combined “Get You” by Daniel Caesar and “Redbone” by Childish Gambino.

Among the students showcasing their singing talents included two duets: Christian Laforteza and Therese Masangcay, as well as Janelle Lacanilao and Adam Acosta.

Having known each other since middle school, Laforteza and Masangcay reunited on the Grand Salon stage to sing “For Good” from the broadway musical, “Wicked.” Playing his guitar, Acosta partnered up with Lacanilao to sing “Best Part” by Daniel Caesar, as the two alternated between splitting up the lines and singing in unison.

Other acts included a performance of the tinikling, a traditional Philippine folk dance involving the use of bamboo poles and two pairs of dancers. SPAHM showcase coordinator Kate Alviar briefly described tinikling as “a festive dance that mimics the movement of the Tikling bird going through bamboo traps made by farmers.”

SPAHM showcase coordinator Kate Alviar briefly described tinikling as “a festive dance that mimics the movement of the Tikling bird going through bamboo traps made by farmers.” (Sonia Gurrola)

Carrying on the tradition of the tinikling, FASA members Kayla Gellekanao, Julien Mani and Jose Paz joined Alviar in the dance. Following the rhythm of the folk music, one pair of the performers clapped the bamboo poles together as the other pair graciously shuffled their feet between and around the bamboo — like a Tikling bird trying to avoid a trap.

Moving away from the stage and onto the big screen, CSUN alumni and filmmaker Dom Argana played an episode of his original miniseries, “In the Valley.” With a plot that “tackles relationships, individuality, pride, and love while struggling to find a place in a community that you feel like you don’t belong to,” it featured Filipino American characters in situations that many in the crowd could resonate with.

CSUN student Mark Feemster took a different direction with his act and performed stand-up comedy. Holding nothing back, Feemster sparked laughter among the crowd as he joked about the headliner, JamieBoy.

“I couldn’t tell who he was when he first walked in the door, man,” Feemster said to the predominantly Filipino audience in attendance. “He looked like each and every one of us here tonight.”

Another upcoming musician who came through was Vince A, who drove from the Bay Area the day prior to the event to perform.

The singer and songwriter prefaced his performance of self-written songs, which were all about love, jokingly saying that “I have a lot of songs, but not a lot of girls.”

Yet Vince A explained the beauty of music by acknowledging the vulnerability that it can capture as a form of communication — which was evident as he sang his recent single “Hold U Close.”

To watch all of the performing acts from this year’s SPAHM showcase, visit the FASA’s YouTube channel.