Around the University TownSU To Host Intl Choral Festival

SU To Host Intl Choral Festival

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Silliman University will bring up to 20 national and international choral groups to Dumaguete in 2023 for the first ever Elizabeth Susan Vista Suarez International Choral Festival.

The festival will take place for a week from July 30 to Aug. 6, 2023 at Claire McGill Luce Auditorium.

According to Prof. Diomar Abrio, chairperson of the University Cultural Affairs Committee, the project was initiated to promote cultural exchange among the choral groups.

“Having the festival on campus is fitting, especially that Silliman is the pioneering institution in choral music,” he said.

The festival will have two categories: adults’ mixed choir, and children’s choir. Each category will have 10 choirs.

Dr. Elizabeth Susan Vista-Suarez, dean of the College of Performing & Visual Arts, and from whom the festival is named after, said the event envisions to provide a venue for people to sing together in harmony to foster and inspire unity and peace. It also aims to recognize excellence in choral music performance.

“The festival is like a light that illuminates in the darkness of things. Because it is beautiful and bright, people will be drawn to it, and they will realize that choral music can bring together many people from different backgrounds, and that the aesthetic expression that has brought them together can foster peace and unity,” she said.

Choral music in Silliman was strengthened with the establishment of the Music Department in 1912, which encouraged the formation of many singing groups.

In 1917, the Glee Club, composed of entirely male singers, was organized by its director, Paul Doltz.

The Girls’ Glee Club was later organized in 1922 under the tutelage of Edna Bell.

Since then, the campus has produced, and continues to support many performing groups. Among the choral groups that remain active on campus are the Silliman University Chorale, the Men’s Glee Club, and the Women’s Ensemble.

Aside from fostering cultural exchanges, the choral festival also honors the commitment and contribution of Vista-Suarez to the field of choral music.

Abrio also noted Dean Vista-Suarez’s almost 40-year experience, which has garnered her numerous local, national, and international recognitions.

Vista-Suarez has an extensive experience training choir of all ages. She has directed several choirs on campus including the Campus Choristers, the Silliman University Goodwill Ambassadors, and Ating Pamana Inc., which has toured the country and the US.

Currently, she directs the Silliman University Chorale, and the Covenant Choir of Silliman Church.

“I see the choir as a place where life’s discipline can be learned, where harmony can be reached, and where listening and sensitivity to humanity can be best honed,” Vista-Suarez said.

She added that the international choral festival will remind the community and the world that in the city of Dumaguete, music and the performing arts are thriving.

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