The University of the East (UE) through its Office of Cultural Affairs mounted the “Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra Outreach Concert” recently with eight (8) musical offerings that range from the classical to the more contemporary local sound at the newly-renovated UE Theatre. Some 1,000 audience members, mostly students, watched the concert, bringing the total audience count of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra Tours to 56,000 to-date.
Dr. Ester Albano Garcia, President and Chief Academic Officer of the UE, provided the welcome remarks and led the conferment of the Arts and Culture Award to UE alumnus Arsenio J. Lizaso, the current President of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). Garcia alongside Chancellor of UE Manila Dr. Linda P. Santiago, Chancellor of UE Caloocan Dr. Zosimo M. Battad, and UE Office of Cultural Affairs Director Generoso A. Caringal conferred the award to Lizaso who graduated from the university in 1965 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, major in Speech and Drama.
The award recognizes Lizaso’s “close to six (6) decades’ worth of distinguished accomplishments in the fields of theater, television, and film as a multi-awarded actor, director and producer and a high-level executive of renowned organizations in the local and international art fronts.”
In response, Lizaso reminisced about his years at the UE where his first role was Egeus, Hermia’s father, in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” where he had 11 lines. He likewise mentioned the university musicals he was a part of, namely, “Oklahoma!” and “My Fair Lady” where he played the lead role of Professor Henry Higgins which marked the beginning of his theatrical career.
The awardee helped organized the UE Drama Guild where they did their productions in the university quadrangle. Addressing mostly university students, Lizaso continued: “I was sort of lost as a young person. Similar to the Biblical story Jonah and the Whale, I was given a second chance in the arts here at UE.” He ended his message with “I am homesick but I am home,” alluding to his homecoming.
After the conferment of the award, the PPO took the stage under the baton of Maestro Herminigildo G. Ranera, the resident conductor of the PPO. “Die Fledermaus Overture” by Johann Strauss, Jr., “Waves of the Danube Waltz” by Josef Ivanovici, and “Thunder and Lightning Polka” by Johann Strauss, Jr. were some of the songs in the PPO repertoire.
“The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra Outreach Concert” came on the heels of the Bacolod concert series on January 31 and February 1, 2019 where a total of 16,000 audience members gathered to watch the two (2) shows. For the March schedule, the PPO will be in the grounds of the Batangas Provincial Capitol.