Luce Auditorium


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Long before the Claire Isabel McGill Luce Auditorium was built, Silliman  University was immersed in culture: plays, dramas, choral music, solo voice and piano recitals, even a performance on a carpenter’s saw.

In 1968, Silliman hosted a visit by Henry Luce III and his wife, Claire Isabel McGill, who were our guests in a Campus Choristers concert held in their honor — at the gym.

In a conversation later that evening, Henry Luce III promised that the Henry Foundation will match funds raised by the Silliman community.

Between 1968 and 1974, we continued to  stage plays at the Amphitheater, programs at the Assembly Hall (now referred to as Silliman Hall), and at  the Woodward Little Theater.

Some of you may still remember Down in the Valley and Sound of Music staged at the gym, Man of La Mancha at the Woodward Little Theater, plays related to the English classes at the Amphitheater, Peter and the Wolf; song and dance presentations by the SU School of Music at the third floor of Guy Hall, directed by dance teacher Lucy Jumawan; a marionette show at Prof. Albert Faurot’s studio, also referred to as the End House.

Also in 1962, the Cultural Affairs Committee chaired by Miriam Gaines- Palmore was formed.  One cannot separate the role of CAC from the use of the Luce Auditorium. Miriam Palmore was the director of the School of Music, who also saw to it that a Dance Studio (at the back) was to be included in the plan for the Auditorium.

So many performing artists, local and international, have since expressed how meaningful and delightful it had been for them to perform at the Luce Auditorium at Silliman.

My deep appreciation to Prof. Diomar Abrio, chairperson of the CAC, and to Dr. Elizabeth Susan Vista-Suarez, dean of the SU College of Performing Arts, whose projects — involving six mentors with its theme, Singing in Harmony to Light Up The World — continue to elevate the cultural life of this University Town.    More than 22 choirs had attended the sessions, and continue to keep praising and expressing their awesome experience at the Luce Auditorium.

So here we are,  and here it is, the world class Claire Isabel McGill Luce Auditorium on the Silliman campus, celebrating 49 meaningful years of culture and the arts.


Isabel Dimaya-Vista


Prof. Isabel Dimaya-Vista is  adjunct professor of SU COPVA since 2011. She was director of the SU School of Music & Fine Arts in the mid-80s, also serving as chairman of the esteemed Cultural Affairs Committee.



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