By Sarah Madison Repollo | December 1, 2023
Half-past the hour of six, the dean of the Silliman University Medical School (SUMS) took to the stage. His eyes surveyed the crowd before grabbing the mic and beginning his speech. Halfway through his words of welcome, Dean Walden Ursos chuckled, explaining the lengths he took to make it to the annual SUMS Variety Show—one of the first held face-to-face since 2019. Just like him, many others, even parents of medical school graduates who have long since left the school’s halls, would not miss the competition for the world.
Act 1: The Beginning
The medical school variety show was established 14 years back. Alongside examinations and classes taking place in their relatively new buildings, the show had its humble origins in their lecture halls. In the present day, it has become a full-blown production, upgrading in venue with the Claire Isabel McGill Luce Auditorium as its current host.
The themes have differed from year to year, with some notable ones being 2022’s “Breaking Barriers through World Class Artistry,” 2019’s “Festivals Around the World: Festivity in Diversity,” and many more. 2023’s theme, “Hits of the Decades,” was meant to bring on a wave of nostalgia, with each batch of students representing a foregone era in music.
The 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s were brought to life on stage this year.
Act 2: The Climax
The curtains rose as the first performance of the night began.
A seemingly aged man was wheelchaired onto the stage by a nurse, a grayed portrait in his hand. A beauty of a woman took up the photograph’s space, posed with a pouty lip, blonde curls, and vibrant red lipstick. It was Marilyn Monroe!
The man began to reminisce on his past with the celebrity, prompting tunes from his youth to play—Paul Anka and Elvis Presley’s songs were just a few of the many 50s hits that were sung.
As the show transitioned into the next decade, Elvis Presley made an appearance once again. This time, he dropped the rock and roll for a swankier “You’re the Devil in Disguise” performance, inviting the audience to sing along.
The nostalgia did not stop at this decade, however, with the 70s only turning up the heat. A Filipino-American character starred as the main singer, bringing viewers through countless hits of Filipino and Western artists alike.
Soon, the flared denim faded into neon clothing as the final decade went center-stage. Madonna, Michael Jackson, and other iconic singers continued to enthrall the audience with their “Thriller” presentations.
Act 3: The End
With all performances having commenced, there was only one act left—the winning announcement. Behind the scenes, a flurry of chaos erupted as those in charge of point tabulation raced against time.
In the meantime, another group of performers readied themselves on stage. The faculty, the very professors of the students themselves, put on a surprise show. One might even say that they outdid the youngsters with the amount of applause they received from the audience!
With just enough time bought by the teachers’ number, the winner had finally been determined. The contestants, the faculty, and the audience held their breaths in anticipation of the victor.
The show’s emcees breathed into the mic, saying “…the first runner-up is…”
The second years screamed in shock, as Batch Invictus took home the cash prize and glory that night.
Half past the hour of eight, the dean of SUMS took to the stage once again. His eyes roamed over the crowd and his students on stage, before bringing the mic to his mouth. The auditorium quieted down, only for the first and third years to break the silence at the dean’s announcement of there being no class until Tuesday of the following week. Before they could get too happy though, Dean Ursos turned back to the interning fourth years, saying, “I’m giving you 24 off para mamista mo, pero 25 and 26, you go back to work.” (“I’m giving you [the] 24th [of November] off so that you can celebrate the fiesta, but on [the] 25th and 26th, you go back to work.”)
Clearly, saving lives never rests! As enthusiastic as they have gotten with their dance routines, so are the medical students steady and ready to get back into their academic routines—all for a better future.
Upon interviewing the SUMS Association’s Executive President, Marjy Martinez, she was asked whether or not being musically inclined makes medical students like her better doctors. She replied that she didn’t think it necessarily did. However, with handling the variety show on top of their studies, this annual event would produce future doctors who could multitask and be well-rounded in nature.
The SUMSA Executive President expounded on this, saying that the university’s med school training is in line with the 5 Cs of Silliman University, then further stating her belief that a medical student who has a genuine appreciation for not just the classroom, but the church, court, community, and—in this case—the culture and arts, is “a very good addition to the recipe of becoming a five-star-physician.”
“Are we better doctors for it? Maybe. Better human beings? For sure,” she concludes.