Allied Global Marketing hosted their 2nd Annual AAPI virtual concert on the 30th of May to not only end Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage month with a bang, but to showcase amazing talents within our community. Katherine Ho, known for singing a Mandarin arrangement for Coldplay’s “Yellow” from the Crazy Rich Asians movie soundtrack, and VJ Rosales, a member of the Filharmonic acapella group and who starred in Pitch Perfect 2, were the stars and hosts of the event.
The beginning of the concert started with Katherine and VJ’s rendition of “Breaking Free” from the High School Musical soundtrack, a fitting song to not only shake the virtual concert jitters but provided a great analogy for our community’s efforts to break free from societal norms and soaring high to keep rising. Then the duo settled in and continued with their curated setlist: one that the audience helped put together via a Google Form that was sent out prior to the event. Songs included were a handful of popular Disney classics such as Aladdin’s “A Whole New World" and Moana’s “How Far I’ll Go”; as well as popular songs like “Best Part" by Daniel Caesar, H.E.R, “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder, and “Love You Like I’m Gonna Lose You” by Meghan Trainor.
Katherine and VJ also paid homage to their heritages by singing a couple of songs in their native tongues: Katherine, with her aforementioned rendition of Coldplay’s “Yellow” from Crazy Rich Asians and a mixed English and Mandarin arrangement of Frankie Vallie’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”. Meanwhile, VJ sang “Saan Ka Man Naroroon” by Dessa and Carol Banawa. Having these songs interjected within their setlist really set centre stage the purpose of the concert; providing more visibility not only to the artists but different genres of Asian music.
As the event went on, it felt less like virtual concert and instead a comfortable jam session with friends. The hosts' bright personalities and banter with the audience via the chat didn’t feel awkward and it felt good to have such interactions. Their voices complemented each other very well and it was a joy hearing the duets that they covered alongside their equally good solo offerings. Their musical talent really shone through the creative decisions they made in their performances from VJ adding jazz runs and scatting in his rendition of “Sunday Morning” by Maroon 5, to Katherine mixing in Mandarin with “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”.
To keep the positive vibes up, the duo ended with “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell and the event felt as if it came full circle with the same feelings of hope and optimism that we started with at the beginning of the concert. Our communities will rise above our constraints and keep rising. Though the virtual concert was to be a bookend to an amazing AAPI Heritage month, there is never a set timeframe that Asian-American talent should be celebrated and showcased.