Students and teachers often have a unique relationship. When it’s good it can be magical. When it’s not, well… On March 24, the Cumberland Oratorio Singers in conjunction with the Campbellton Youth Chorus present The Student and the Teacher at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church.
The concert features the works of Vaugh, Williams, a teacher at the Royal College of Music and his not so admiring student Benjamin Britten. While it is not unusual for composers to disparage one another, Britten never held back when he had an opportunity to criticize Williams. Williams was equally uncharitable regarding his student.
While the two men were hard pressed to say a kind word about each other, in this concert, their works complement each other. “They complement each other thematically as British composers,” said Cumberland Oratorio Singers Director Michael Martin. “Past that, they have very different styles. That in itself, is refreshing and wonderful.”
The performance features well-known works from each composer, including Williams’ “Serenade to Music” and Britten’s “Rejoice in the Lamb.”
Martin noted that the men lived very different lives and had different influences regarding why they wrote the music they did. “Vaughn Williams came into his being later in his life and tended to look to English folk songs for his inspiration. Britten showed musical brilliance at a much younger age and tended to write for the people that were performing the work. They are both incredibly important British composers and their intersection occurred at the Royal College of Music. Vaughn Williams was on the faculty; Britten was a student. Past that, they held strong opinions of each other, and not always positive.”
As an organization, the Cumberland Oratorio Singers have three choirs under their umbrella: the COS, the Cross Creek Chorale, and the Campbellton Youth Chorus. Sometimes, they come together as a complete organization to present different material, and this is one of those moments. “In terms of the CYC being in this concert, I would like to believe that they, and the audience, will see that singing is truly a lifelong commodity,” said Martin. “Our mission includes that inference and we are thrilled to put it all in context in this performance.”
Founded in the 2015/16 season, the Campbellton Youth Chorus is a relatively new component of the group Cumberland Oratorio Singers. It is made up of youth ages 9-14 regardless of school affiliation, ethnicity, socio-economic background or religion. The goal of the organization is to help participants and audience members develop a lifelong appreciation of and participation in great choral music. Members of the youth chorus get to work with a range of choral music, both sacred and secular. The group accepts members regardless of school affiliation, ethnicity, socio-economic background or religion. “Since we do not have the youth in every concert, it’s nice to have them do a part of the concert. This concert will actually feature each part of the organization equally, which is what is both special and great about this COS concert,” said Martin. “The COS represents our Fayetteville community. We have singers from all ages and all walks of life in this group. What drives their passion is choral music and they do it quite well. This has earned them the honor of being in the 2017 class of inductees into the Fayetteville Music Hall of Fame.”
The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. Visit http://singwithcos.org for more details.