Espina: Tatak Recoleto concert

MUSIC. The singing priest, Rev. Fr. Leo G. Alaras, OAR, vice president for Academics.
MUSIC. The singing priest, Rev. Fr. Leo G. Alaras, OAR, vice president for Academics.

The University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) alumni had a “once-in-a-lifetime” concert on Saturday, Oct. 1 at the Recoletos Coliseum to commemorate the 75 years of USJ-R in Cebu. Yes, the Silver Jubilee concert.

Josenians have been the pacesetters in music and theater to enrich their academic courses. The theater craft augments personality, cultural and community development.

In 1964, my first teaching year in Cebu, I organized the High School Little Theater. In college, Fr. Victor Lluch founded the CSJ-R (Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos) Dramatics guild, college level.

In 1976, Fr. Blas Montenegro gave the College of Arts and Sciences the overall management of the early CSJ-R, then the USJ-R Dramatics and Cultural (Drac) Ensemble, which integrated the Amparito Llamas Lhuillier Educational Foundation (Allef) in 1996, expanding the scholarship benefits of deserving members.

I took charge as dean and overall director with English teachers as advisers. We produced Broadway musicales, namely, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “Student Prince,” “West Side Story,” “The Sound of Music,” “Mamma Mia,” “Miss Saigon,” “SisterActs 1 and 2,” “South Pacific,” excerpts from “Evita,” “Les Miserables,” “Cats,” “Phantom of the Opera,” “Showboat,” “My Fair Lady,” “Chorus Line,” “Aladdin,” “Singing Nun,” “The Lion King,” “Grease” etc.

We did religious musicales on the Restless Journey of St. Augustine and the Healing Priest, St. Ezekiel, the Healing Eucharist etc. The group participated in the US Springfield Festivals thrice, represented the City in its sisterhood and tourism tours in locations like Salinas, San Jose, San Francisco and Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Honolulu, Dale, Washington, Vladivostok etc.

Our alumni are spread out in various parts of the globe as entrepreneurs, performers, with their families. Some own schools of the performing arts, among others.

It was a great idea of the USJ-R alumni, led by president Jonathan Capanas, director Eli Manlangit, musical director Gani Villarojo, coordinator Gloria Villarojo to gather some alumni for the 75th celebration concert, “Tatak Recoleto.” Another magnum opus of the school.

Watch out for my In My Diary memoirs of the USJ-R Drac Ensemble and Allef, from its inception in 1964. I was in the midst of finishing the book in 2019, until the Covid pandemic occurred. But, the USJ-R Drac alumni across the globe will help finish the book. I am requesting all alumni across the globe to send me through Facebook the list of shows (with photos and videos, if any) where they participated for inclusion in my book.


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