The San Jose Brothers: Kapamilya within a Kapamilyaby admin
People say that talent runs in the blood, but when three brothers make it to the “Big League” of their industry, joining the Kapamilya network as principal musicians of the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra, there must be more to their success than just genetics.
Romeo, Jorge, and Benito San Jose are all members of the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra and have come a long way from playing in their school big bands. They are excellent players of their musical instruments and are equipped with priceless experience from their many years of being professional musicians. All three are principal players of their instruments: Romeo is the Principal Trombonist, Jorge is the Principal Percussionist, and Benito is the Principal Horn Player.
Their blood runs thick with musical talent. Both sides of their family are filled with musically inclined brothers and sisters, with both parents and their grandfather being musicians. Their house is replete with musical instruments, making it easy for anyone inside to simply pick up an instrument and play. Some family members have chosen to become music teachers, others have chosen to perform as part of orchestras and bands, and others have chosen careers outside of music, though never letting go of their love of playing music.
Even before they began learning how to play, Benito “Benny” San Jose said that he and his brothers had a good grasp of musical theory, simply from listening to their father and grandfather. They all chose to develop their natural inclination to music, growing up to be classically trained musicians.
But there is more to them than the talent in their blood. According to Benny San Jose, the three brothers had to pick up an instrument and learn to play – if a student was accepted into the school’s official band, their tuition would be subsidized – the brothers decided to put in the long hours of practice and attending rehearsals so as to help the family budget. They were even able to subsidize other family members’ tuition the same way. They continued doing this throughout high school and college.
It was this spirit of sacrifice that brought the needed characteristics to become great musicians, knowing the importance of discipline and diligence so as to become excellent in their art. Despite this, the brothers know how to have a good laugh: when asked if there was any competition among siblings, Jorge San Jose said “wala, sa looks lang.”
When asked what made them decide to become professional musicians, Romy said “swerte lang, nag-audition ako sa CCP at natanggap ako.” It turns out that he auditioned for the CCP Orchestra when he was a student and was then swayed into considering music as a career. Benny said that he began professionally with the Philippine Army Band and has been in many orchestras since. Jorge, who many say is the funniest of the brothers, said that he decided first to be an engineer, but because he enrolled late, he had to choose to join the music course at his university. Jorge smiled as he then said “Hindi ako lumipat, it’s nice to be a rock star.” Jorge was part of the Jazz band called the Ugoy-ugoy Band and also joined various well-established orchestras, including Filharmonika, before becoming part of the ABS-CBN Philharmonic.
The brothers have always been working hard, continuously learning as they joined orchestras while moonlighting at bars and other gigs, never letting go of their character that helped them become excellent in music. When asked what advice they would give aspiring musicians, they all agreed that the most important thing to do is to study. “Kailangan mag-aral talaga. Wag hilaw,” said Romy. They believe that more opportunities arise if one works hard, studies and masters his craft. Truly, their Kapamilya spirit is not a dependence of the talent in their blood, but a proactive drive for excellence and success.