Elias Groff sits outside.By Tanushree Sow Mondal ’24

Singing was a significant part of the high school journey for Elias Groff ’23, which included competing in an international music convention.

Pursuing an international affairs major and minor in economics, Elias, AKA Eli, hails from the Philippines.

“My high school was part of an athletic and cultural association known as IASAS [Interscholastic Association of Southeast Asian Schools], which hosts competitions among the schools in terms of multiple sports and other clubs such as music, Model UN, etc. I partook in the music aspect of it,” Elias explains.

Selected as one of eight singers to represent his school, The International School of Manila, at the convention in his junior and senior year, Elias reached a multinational audience as he traveled to Singapore and Taipei, Taiwan, to showcase his talent.

“We had to prepare a solo to sing in front of judges and an octet performance, a song that the eight of us [from his school] would sing together. Then we would all sing together as a whole community of IASAS, representing different schools in a concert at the very end,” Elias says.

“The songs that we sang were supposed to be part of Western classical music. I had sung a Mozart piece for my junior year solo, and my second solo during my senior year was in Italian. For our octet piece, both of the pieces that we sang were in Tagalog, a Filipino dialect. For the final concert, we sang a mix among English, Latin, French, Italian. A lot of the songs that people would sing would be from operas,” Elias adds.

Fascinating as it sounds, the multilingual singing brought its own share of challenges.

“You’re picking them [the songs] to show off, so they were definitely tough pieces to learn,” says Elias. “The toughest part was learning every note, how to sing and enunciate all these different languages properly to make it convincing.”

His involvement in the show choir, in addition to the workload of regular school, necessitated greater time and effort.

However, Elias is grateful for the musical training and knowledge acquired and the cultural experiences gained from his travel to diverse regions in Asia.

“A lot of the friends that I made there are people whom I still keep contact with even though they are in other schools,” Elias says.

Elias continues to explore his musical interest in college, where he’s a member of the all-male a cappella group The Chorduroys.

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