LUIGI – Aleron’s Chic Geek
Full Name: Angelo Luis O. Cortez
Birthdate: October 27, 1991
Designation in Aleron: Strategic Development / Bass 2
Likes: Beer, colorful socks, poetry, jazz, music in general
Aleron’s featured member for the month of November is no stranger to the spotlight. He is very hard to miss, from the polished wardrobe to the passion he puts in his work, both professional and extra-curricular. One will surely benefit from having this Renaissance man in their close circle of friends.
One Aleron member says Luigi gives the word “nerd” an alternative meaning. Some Aleron members say he’s broken the negative connotation of the word and transcended the stereotype. He loves math. He’s inquisitive, bookish, and intelligent like any nerd out there, but he has the ability to certainly shine at anything life throws at him. Unlike the typical nerd, he is handsome and charming, and his fashion sense helps him look anything but awkward. He dresses to impress, and among his peeves are non-matching belts and shoes. Aleron has taken this opportunity to help you get to know Luigi, the way we know and love him. Here is an inside look at what makes this chic geek tick.
ALERON: Tell us about yourself, whatever you feel comfortable sharing.
LUIGI: I took up Applied Math in college, specializing in Finance. I’m currently working in a consultancy firm and my specialization is in Economics and Finance.
ALERON: Is there anyone special who inspires you now?
LUIGI: I have a girlfriend, and we met in school. We’ve been together for two years already, and it’s been fantastic.
ALERON: When did you get into singing?
LUIGI: I got into singing back in college when I sang with the Ateneo College Glee Club (ACGC), and I just loved it. I’m no longer singing with the ACGC because I’m already working but that was where [singing] started [for me].
ALERON: How did you get into the group and how long have you been with the group?
LUIGI: I’ve been with the group for a little more than 2 years. Actually, super swerte rin na (lucky that) I got into Aleron, because Aleron was started as the alumni group of the Ateneo High School Glee Club (AHSGC). I came from the Ateneo High School but I wasn’t part of [AHSGC,] so I thought ‘parang hindi ako makakasali diyan, (it might not be possible for me to join the group)’ but thankfully, one of my choirmates sa ACGC, Miggi Angangco (currently Aleron’s Manager), invited me and I thought ‘hey, why not?’ kasi (because) I wanted to keep singing even after I graduated from college.
ALERON: What is the toughest thing about being in Aleron?
LUIGI: Definitely the schedule. When I started working, other difficulties presented themselves, like the fact that I live in Quezon City but I work all the way in Fort [Bonifacio] so, the commuting time is really a lot. It takes an hour and a half, one way, so it really takes up a large part of my free time. Then the rehearsals take up a sizeable chunk and sometimes they get into my rest period, but I don’t realize how difficult it gets at times kasi I like what I’m doing.
ALERON: What is the biggest hurdle you had to overcome with the group?
LUIGI: I would have to say that this was during the group’s preparations for Busan. (BCFC) The already tight schedule became even tighter. Our weekly rehearsals increased gradually as the competition date neared, and hindi pa ganoon ka-prepared yung mga tao. (members were not that prepared yet) Certain issues were coming up about the readiness and preparedness of the members, and issues on attendance were also becoming a problem, etc. Things became quite tense and it was not exactly the best of times.
ALERON: What keeps you in Aleron despite all the challenges?
LUIGI: The music, definitely. But aside from the music, I have to say that it’s the company. It’s going to sound super cheezy, but [Aleron] is family already. It’s hard to explain to people who haven’t experienced it but to share the experience of crafting something beautiful with other people whom, at first hindi mo masyadong kasundo (you don’t get along with) or hindi ka as close (you’re not as close) to them as some of your friends, but for some reason, something really special binds you with them. I don’t think I’m going to find another group as dedicated as this. I also think this group is quite gifted despite coming from different backgrounds. Most of us have backgrounds in singing, some of us are currently studying music, and we have a very, very, talented and gifted conductor to guide us.
ALERON: Now that we know what keeps you in the group, we want to know, what is your most fulfilling experience in or with the group?
LUIGI: Winning the competition is one of them, definitely, especially winning the grand prize. Iba talaga yung feeling noon. (that was a different feeling in itself.) But in addition to that, the feeling that I was given the opportunity to be a part of something big, something greater than myself, to share it with the family, and of course, to make something beautiful. It’s an indescribable sense of fulfillment.
ALERON: We’ve heard a lot of who you are in the group, so now we want to know about who you are outside of singing, and outside of Aleron. (Hobbies and Interests)
LUIGI: Definitely, I like reading, but mostly, I’ve been busy with work that even the stuff I’m reading outside work is work-related. I really miss reading poetry. I am a big fan of Rainer Maria Rilke, and also I really used to like reading Philosophy [books]. This is definitely something I will get back into once my schedule opens up. In addition to that, I also used to play the guitar, but when I started singing, I ran out of time and I don’t get to dabble in that these days. Now, one thing I really want to get into now is to become a Jazz pianist, because I like listening to Jazz music.
ALERON: In your opinion, what is the toughest thing about being in a choir, or being a choir in the Philippines?
LUIGI: I think one of the toughest things would be the lack of an audience in the Philippines. There are some enthusiasts here but it’s very different in other parts of the globe. I was fortunate enough to go to Europe with the ACGC and super iba talaga ng culture nila doon. (Their culture is very different there.) They really value the arts, and you can really see the premium they place through the advertisments and the venues for arts to be showcased. Unfortunately, here in the Philippines, that kind of culture is not very prominent. Which leads to another difficult thing—finances. It’s very difficult to raise money to pursue this type of art.
ALERON: Why do you sing despite all these difficulties, including your own personal challenges? (eg. schedule, lack of support, etc.)
LUIGI: I am an artist at heart. Although my work is very interesting, I know in my heart that I wont be able to live without music. That’s what really keeps me singing. [Despite so many concerns and challenges], there’s something about music that tells me that this is worth it, and this is one of the things I live for. I think songs are still worth singing in this everchanging world na parang pababaw nang pababaw (which is seemingly becoming more and more shallow) but [through music] I still find depth and beauty.
ALERON: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
LUIGI: Hopefully, I will still be singing with the group, and we’re much more awesome and we’re able to garner more awards for the country. I’m contemplating taking up PhD studies abroad, but I have to admit that Aleron is one of the big factors I’m taking into account. I don’t want to leave the group for an extended period of time.
ALERON: Do you have anything else you would like to say?
LUIGI: My hope is for [Aleron] to be able to cultivate a widespread choral consciousness and culture. I hope we will be able to elevate the level of entertainment, compared to where it is nowadays. I feel that it is at a shallow point and it’s a little frustrating. I also hope for us to help preserve the Filipino culture. Of course we will not be able to do this singlehandedly, but I hope that we are able to somehow contribute to it, especially since the Filipino culture is so beautiful and nakakalimutan na (is becoming obscure). Also, please support Aleron. We really like having audiences to perform to, and I think we have a really good thing going here. We really want to share this with as many people as possible, and sana (I hope) we are able to continue doing well enough to keep this going. That’s the dream.