The CompanY is here to stay for a long while

Leah C. Salterio - The Philippine Star
The CompanY is here to stay for a long while
While they previously started with six members, The CompanY has been performing as a quartet lately. Moy Ortiz is joined by fellow founding member Annie Qui ntos, with two-decade member Sweet Plantado and the latest addition, OJ Mariano.
STAR / File

Make no mistake when you write the name of the country’s vocal group, The CompanY. There should be the article, The, before the name and CompanY should be written with a capital Y at the end.

“That’s for visual branding, so to speak,” said Moy Ortiz, the original member and lead singer of the premier a capella group. “We were originally known as Company, but the name was too generic and quite confusing. So our managers then, Louie Reyes and Cesar de la Fuente, suggested we put ‘The’ before our name.

“I also capitalized the letter Y in CompanY, so as to give our name a visual cue and brand that CompanY is in reference to us, a Pinoy vocal group and no one else.”

When he was thinking about a name, Moy originally got the idea from the musical play of Stephen Sondheim, Company, staged in 1971. “That musical talked about friendships, bonds, marriages,” Moy offered. “It talked about a group of tight-knit friends which was exactly who we were in 1985.”

For 35 years, The CompanY has been visibly making its presence felt in the local music scene. Undoubtedly. While they previously started with six members and performed as a sextet for a long time, The CompanY has been performing as a quartet lately. Moy is joined by his fellow founding member Annie Quintos, with two-decade member Sweet Plantado and the latest addition, OJ Mariano, who joined in 2014.

The pandemic did not hinder The CompanY from staging a unique Valentine’s concert, Roadtrip, from inside Moy’s hatchback. The quartet effortlessly rendered a repertoire interestingly lined up by Sweet, who willingly assumed multiple duties as writer, choreographer and director of the show. Sweet even carried Moy’s portable turntable, that still elicits clear sound when a 45 record is played on it.

Call it Carpool Karaoke, the series popularized by TV host James Corden, but The CompanY gamely pulled off Roadtrip admirably. With Moy and OJ alternating on the steering wheel and the two girls behind, The CompanY took a trip down south and down memory lane, too, as they dished out familiar songs that they re-imagined from local and foreign artists, as well as their signature OPM hits.

There was no need for over-the-top performances, as The CompanY was not onstage. Everything was laidback. One could just lie down in bed or slouch in a couch and still enjoy watching the show.

In Roadtrip, presented by Stages, The CompanY’s management outfit, they carried out familiar tunes they recorded that brought everyone to nostalgic lane. It was great to hear songs like Goodbye, Columbus, Both Sides Now, Head Over Heels, Great Day/Get-away and Afternoon Delight.

The group also rendered their version of hits like Martin Nievera’s Each Day With You, The Eraserheads’ With A Smile, even Justin Bieber’s One Less Lonely Boy/Girl and Bruno Mars’ Marry You.

In two hours, The CompanY gave the audience some of the most beautiful songs from the 28 albums they recorded through the years. They promised to record two more albums this year, now that they are with Star Music, to bring the total to 30.

Along the Roadtrip, the quartet made stop-overs that brought the audience to the historic Taal Basilica in Batangas, dating back to 1878 and even posed at the balcony of Casa Villavicencio, where Loy Arcenas’ Ang Larawan was filmed in 2017.

Of course, what The CompanY concert will be complete without their well-loved hits that they rendered in a medley towards the latter part of the concert? One could not help but sing along with Pakisabi Na Lang, Now That I Have You, Muntik Na Kitang Minahal and the first one, Everlasting Love, that started it big musically for The CompanY.

In 2018, when National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab was “newly minted,” he wrote a new Tagalog single for The CompanY. ‘Sang Tawag Mo Lang, with music by Mr. C and lyrics by Monolog’s front man, Aldon Panlaqui. It was the first digital single of The CompanY released on Star Music.

Last year, Jungee Marcelo penned a new digital single for the group, Sumakabilang Puso, also for The CompanY’s soon-to-be-released album under Star Music.

After their successful Canada concert with Joey Albert before the lockdown last year, The CompanY was scheduled to go on a US tour. However, the pandemic detailed them to Manila with no choice, as everyone is waiting how to circumvent this virus that continues to rear its ugly head.

Before The CompanY scored a hit with Everlasting Love back in 1991, there were many times when the group contemplated about giving up. However, they persevered despite the early challenges. Other members came and went. The CompanY proved that they are here to stay. Apparently still for a long while.

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