As the world faced the “new normal” with the COVID-19 pandemic, Far Eastern University’s President’s Committee on Culture (PCC) adapted and evolved to keep arts and culture alive. FEU PCC, which recently was rebranded as the FEU Center for the Arts (FCA), was established in 1990 and its scope is not just limited to the performing arts but also extended to the visual and cinematic arts, campus tours and heritage walks.
Drawing inspiration from live streamed readings, mini concerts, and even access to recorded musicals and shows online for the culturally-starved, the FCA cultural groups also played their part in providing encouragement and support to the community by virtually showcasing their own pieces.
Members of the FEU Chorale came together via the Zoom teleconferencing app to do a rendition of In his presence by Dick and Melody Tunney in early April. The group dedicated the performance to the frontliners who are bravely risking their lives to ensure the safety of the public.
Producing the virtual performance though involved a complicated process, according to FEU Chorale President Hector Daniel Rebadavia. “First we had to make sure everyone was in sync and each member had to record their track corresponding to their vocal sections and then this was checked to by artistic director for sound quality. When he approves the recording, the members could upload for editing. If not, they had to repeat the process with the required corrections.”
The BS in Information Technology junior said while they were happy with the output, they miss the rehearsal activities for correcting and monitoring the sound produced and collaborating in studying the pieces.
“As much as we know that we have to adapt to this new normal, nothing replaces making music with everyone around you, seeing the unity and passion for music that makes our individual voices turn into a pleasant harmony.”
Meanwhile, members of the FEU Dance Company have been releasing individual dance performances called FDC during Covid Lock Down in its Facebook page. FDC member Carlo Padoga choregraphed a dance for the song Beyond the Window.
“In these hard times, we can’t deny that we miss being outside. As much as we want to go out but we cannot. The window is only our connection to the outside,” said Padoga.
Alumni of the FEU Theater Guild recently produced ‘Tseter Feed’, an online channel that features wildly hilarious variety showcasing the guild’s acting chops with improvisational comedy and short sketches. The channel aims to not only highlight the talented students but to simultaneously provide comedic relief for their viewers.
The FEU Theater Guild has been hard at work in improving their craft by organizing online acting workshops for its members and inviting artist-teachers such as Mean Espinosa and Vince Lim from the Philippine Educational Theatre Association to impart their knowledge, experience, and insights on acting and musical theater.
On the other hand, FEU Guides, the official campus ambassadors, shared a virtual art tour which provided an in-depth look at the artistic history of FEU through the different paintings and sculptures that decorate the campus. The video featured prominent works such as the Relief Panels from Italian sculptor Francesco Monte which depicted different eras of Philippine History, a collection of paintings from the first National Artist Fernando Amorsolo, and other works of art from past faculty and other national artists. This allowed public viewers who have never been on campus-grounds a look at FEU’s collection of first-class art pieces as well as the iconic art deco designs of its campus that is a UNESCO Asia-Pacific Honorable Mention Heritage Award recipient and is considered a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.
More performances can be found from other members of the FEU community in the FCA online channel which has been posting both new and previously filmed content from other student organizations, such as choreographed performances of the FEU Dance Company inspired by their time in quarantine. Other notable shows are the musical performances of the FEU Chorale singing their versions of popular tunes, as well as their awe-inspiring rendition of “In His Presence” which was filmed individually during the Luzon-wide Enhanced Community Quarantine.
In this trying time, members of the FEU community continue to come together to give back to the community and represent the university’s core values through their Resilience in adapting to the uncertain times, Excellence in the continuous pursuit of their passions, and Uprightness in the example they set for other people during the new normal.