Fil-Am band makes it to "America’s Got Talent"

by Rodney Jaleco, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Jun 01 2012 12:37 PM | Updated as of Jun 04 2012 10:39 PM

ALEXANDRIA, Virginia - A local Filipino-American all-girl band made it through another popular TV talent competition and will be competing before a nationwide audience in the wake of compatriot Jessica Sanchez historic run on “American Idol”.

"Ivy Rose" made it past the 1st round of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” after winning the nod of judges Sharon Osbourne, Howie Mendel and Howard Stern. The girls are now moving on to Las Vegas where they will compete for the $1 million cash prize and the chance to headline a show in any of Las Vegas’ renowned casino stages.

"Ivy Rose" band members whoop it up after making it through the "America's Got Talent" eliminations

Ivy Rose has been a familiar fixture in Filipino and Asian American events in the Metro DC region. The band is composed of sisters Isabelle, Sarah and Kristine de Leon, and vocalist Martina San Diego (aside from their love of music, they are bound by another strand of trivia – their mothers hail from Cebu).

“The girls are playing better than ever and with much more energy,” Ivy Rose manager Tito de Leon told ABS-CBN News. He also happens to be the father of Isabelle, Sarah and Kristine.

Ivy Rose is basically a family affair. The band was born over 3 years ago in the basement of the De Leon home in Maryland. Tito is an engineer by training but now works almost full-time with the band (his wife Lynn is the group’s marketing agent). You will usually see him setting up and testing equipment just before the girls go up on stage.

“It's just been a lot of work lately for them and for me, and making sure things are on the right track,” Tito averred.

Vocalist Marti (who also plays rhythm guitar) is a high school senior and consistent honor student; she has been performing in front of audiences since she was 5.

Drummer Isabelle is going on her senior year at the University of Maryland where she is pursuing an odd combination of Pre-Medicine and Jazz Drums Performance, and has been consistently in Dean’s List. She was one of the featured performers last April at the Smithsonian National American History Museum celebrating women in jazz. She also received the Stanley Kay scholarship to join the New York Summer Festival for Jazz last year.

Lead guitarist Sarah is an incoming freshman at the University of Maryland where she wants to pursue a double major in electrical engineering and what else, jazz guitar (she graduated cum laude from high school). She has been playing the guitar since she was 7.

Bass guitarist Kristine is a senior at the Catholic University of America in Washington DC where she a pursuing a major in architecture; she is also one of the leaders of CUA’s Filipino organization (she is actually the designated historian of the group).

De Leon noted the recent surge of Filipino talent on top American TV competitions, including Roshon Fegan (his mother is Filipino) who finished 6th in ABC’s “Dancing With The Stars”.

“I think Filipinos are just simply talented and just need a bit of nurturing – and more importantly, exposure,” he said.