Tribute to Maestro

Tribute to Maestro

Tribute to a Maestro
By Dr. Cecile M. Genove, Dean, College of Mass Communication

A sage once said that the ultimate form of respect is when one pays tribute to the achievements or accomplishments of an individual for the betterment of society. One such tribute becamea reality last Thursday, March 6 when Dumaguete City, through Silliman University, celebrated the centennial birth anniversary of Maestro Dr. Albert Louis Faurot, founder of the Silliman University Men’s Glee Club, who lived in the city that he loved, eventually making it, too, as his permanent resting place. Dr. Faurot passed on on March 15, 1990 and was interred at the Dumaguete Memorial Park.

Arriving in Dumaguete in 1952, Maestro Faurot learned that Silliman University was organizing a new School of Music to offer a bachelor of arts degree, later expanding to a bachelor of music. The need for guidance in art appreciation led Maestro Faurot to launch into another field. The Fine Arts courses at Silliman, for which he has written a popular textbook, has initiated several hundred students each year into the mysteries of art viewing and collecting.

Among the most prized “citations” of the professor are the picture postcards sent back by former students from great museums and monuments of the world. In his studio-cum-residence called the End House found inside the campus, it is both a work of art and a museum, which in later years, saw the onslaught of rehearsals of the Men’s Glee Club.

Founded in 1963 at the request of the University Religious Life Council, the Men’s Glee Club was formed to fill the need for a convocation choir. Choral singing then and now has been a thriving art at Silliman, with choirs for the various church services and choruses in schools and colleges comprising the music and cultural scene.

Starting out with some 45 to 50 members coming from various disciplines, the Glee Club was formed essentially because of the members’ devotion to singing. They were chosen through auditions for their voices, and also for talent in dancing and instrumental performances. A Glee Club scholarship is offered to a soloist each year.

On the year that the Glee Club was founded, the Yale University Men’s Glee Club visited Silliman University. This group became a model for the new club, and helped to establish the tradition. An invitation came during the first year to perform for the Community Hospital in Cebu in concert and in television. This was the beginning of concert tours, which became a staple, taking culture and the celebrated Silliman Spirit to towns and cities, schools, and churches throughout the country.

The Club later elected its own officers who planned and carried out the activities, leaving to the Director the selection and preparation of the music. In 1969, Dr. Nichol Elman became president and brought a distinctive dedication to the job, spurring the Club to embark on fresh goals.

In the year that martial law was declared, the Men’s Glee Club was invited to Manila for a series of concerts, culminating in a performance at Ellinwood Church, sponsored by the Greater Manila Silliman Alumni Chapter. Word of these concerts reached New York City, and the following year a representative from the Lincoln Center Choral Festival came to Dumaguete to audition them.

Unable to finance the trip abroad, the Club launched another series of local tours which took them as far south as Davao and as far north as Laoag. The Club had also performed at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

In celebration of the centennial birth anniversary of its founder, Maestro Faurot, alumni formed themselves into the Silliman University Men’s Glee Club Alumni to reprise the original objective of the Club, which was to bring cheer and glad tidings to the community through music.

“This has always been the mission of the Men’s Glee Club, and it is our wish to revive this spirit of service through music, something that has guided us through the years,” said Dr. Elman, who served as tour impresario and now spearheads the alumni club. The Men’s Glee Club also held a concert last year to commemorate the Club’s 50th founding anniversary.

The concert at the Claire Isabel McGill Luce Auditorium, which also featuredcampus and community talents, was co-sponsored by the Silliman University Civic Welfare Training Service, the National Service Reserve Corps, and the Silliman University Cultural Affairs Committee.