Publication: City Times
Author: Rachel Keown-Burke
Concert series organizer Sal Filipelli plays his own event
On Wednesdays from 12 to 1 p.m. this semester, City College has been replete with rock ‘n’ roll, blues, and indie beats. Musicians from all over California have taken the mic at Gorton Quad for the Concert Series, sponsored by the Associated Student Government (AS). March 30, the students were treated with the warm vocals of Nooner series organizer Sal Filipelli, a member of AS, who says his style is a mix of all three. Filipelli stood solo behind his custom black-and-pearl Fender Straocaster, having just finished a smoky cover of The Beatles ballad “Something.” After ten years of traveling around the world playing music, funding his tours with the money he made as a piano tuner, Filipelli found a home at City College.
Originally UCLA-bound, he became discouraged with the strict GPA and extracurricular demands inherent to the university’s admissions process. “I was looking for things that I could do; community service things, school service things.” Filipelli expressed interest toward putting together a collaboration of arts for an ongoing series of exhibitions, using this opportunity to navigate toward a successful admission into UCLA’s music program. “Somebody approached me and asked if I was interested in putting a festival together.” He laughed as he recalled his gut reaction of “hell no! I definitely didn’t want to put a festival together. “But then the more I thought about it, the more I thought about the resources that I had at my disposal from touring … so I put together a budget plan for the ASG.” As City College’s funds for extracurricular activities dwindled, the ASG was forced to deny Filipelli’s budget. “They still wanted a festival,” he explained. “After careful negotiations they granted me a little money. The Concert Series was actually what I was able to do with what they gave me.” The Series has become a weekly staple, an oasis of culture, music, and art, providing students with a break from the daily minutia of class work. “We’re offering the students entertainment,” Filipelli said. As a veteran musician, he understands the value and inspiration one derives from music, and asserted that it “has a way to get in your soul and make you move.”
Filipelli looks forward to a new career after transferring to UCLA in West Hollywood, knowing that the music industry, difficult as it is, is all about networking. “I want to get into composition for film and TV. That’s where the industry is and where the contacts are made.” He considered his future for a moment and said, laughing, “I’m going to make a billion dollars by cutting a record with Paul McCartney.”