Silliman welcomes 16 choirs to international choral fest
THE Silliman University (SU) hosts 16 international and local choirs in its 1st SU International Choral Festival (SUICF) from July 31 to August 5, 2023.
With the theme, “Singing in Harmony to Light Up the World,” SUICF aims to provide a venue for choral groups to learn from each other and perform together to inspire hope and unity. It also envisions to recognize excellence in choral music performance.
The festival opened July 31 with a program at the Claire Isabel McGill Luce Auditorium.
Dr. Diomar Abrio, chairperson of the university’s cultural arm, the Cultural Affairs Council (CAC), said four of the participating choirs are from Taiwan and the rest are performing groups from all over the country.
“This is history in the making. The gathering of these diverse groups in Silliman is historic, especially that Silliman is the country’s pioneering institution in choral music,” Abrio says.
The festival has lined up a number of activities in the coming days. The choral groups will participate in Negros Oriental’s Grand Launching of the Tourism Roadshow on July 31 at the Capitol Forecourt; have a gala concert on August 2 at 4 p.m., at the Claire Isabel McGill Luce Auditorium; and perform in outreach concerts in Dumaguete City, Valencia, and Bayawan City on August 4.
The festival features a special performance by The Male Ensemble Philippines and the Nightingales on August 3, at 7 p.m., at the Claire Isabel McGill Luce Auditorium. The male a capella ensemble and the soprano duo are alumni of the Philippine Madrigal Singers, the country’s premier choral group.
Choral conductors will also have intensive choral workshops and voice clinics by world-class conductors and artists throughout the duration of the festival, namely: Dr. Elizabeth Susan Vista-Suarez, dean of the SU College of Performing and Visual Arts and an expert in choral conducting and music pedagogy; Dr. Joel Navarro, the first major professor of the first Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting in Southeast Asia; Mark Anthony Carpio, choirmaster of the Philippine Madrigal Singers; Timothy Wayne-Right, former member of the Grammy-winning a capella vocal ensemble, The King’s Singers, and founder of The A Capella Academy; Katrina Marie Saga, an alumna of the Philippine Madrigal Singers and vocal coach who is a Certified McClosky Voice Technician; and Ryan Cayabyab, National Artist and Original Pilipino Music icon.
Dubbed as “Learn from the Masters,” the workshops are designed to provide choir conductors with extensive and comprehensive training on their respective art in choral techniques and musicianship.
“Because the sessions will put emphasis on advancing the conductors’ skills and understanding the processes, participants must be ready to commit to a process of mentoring and critiquing by a pool of esteemed practitioners and choir masters, including no less than Maestro Ryan Cayabyab, National Artist for Music,” said Abrio.
Significance of the festival
Abrio said that hosting the festival is important to cement Silliman’s heritage in music.
“The heritage of music at Silliman University is distinguished by its history of nurturing a culture of appreciation and a culture of application through performance,” he added.
One kind of music that has come to define Silliman the most, said Abrio, is choral music.
Vista-Suarez, who is also the SUICF artistic director, said that the international choral festival will remind the community and the world that in the city of Dumaguete, a school of music and performing arts is thriving.
The festival will close with a free concert at the Macias Sports Complex on August 5, 7:00 p.m.(PR)