It’s been awhile since Fayetteville has heard from the Cumberland Oratorio Singers, since before03-03-11-oratorio.gif Christmas, in fact. But they’ve been hard at work and on Friday, April 1, they’re performing at Berean Baptist Church.

The performance will include two works, both of them composed by John Rutter. The Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra is working with the Oratorio Singers and will provide the instrumental portion of the performance.

“One of the works is mostly strings and such,” said Mary Potter, president of the Cumberland Oratorio Singers. “And the other will include some brass and other instruments.” Potter loves both pieces, but for very different reasons and fi nds it diffi cult to choose a favorite.

“These pieces are very different with the Requeim being the more somber of the two,” she said, and added “I guess Gloria, for me, is more interesting because it does have brass and percussion instruments and it is more lively. I guess you could say everyone’s taste is different, but the Requiem has some beautiful passages to it. There is the “Pie Jesu” that comes from this work. It is mainly a soprano solo and it is just a glorious piece of music.”

In addition to the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra, the Cumberland Oratorio Singers are partnering with the Child Advocacy Center to help them spread their message of keeping children safe.

“We are partnering with Child Advocacy, in the sense that they will be there with a table and some information about child advocacy, because April is Child Abuse Prevention Month,” said Potter. “We are partnering with them on this to get out the word that this is Child Abuse Prevention Month and to make people aware. We will also have someone speak before the concert about child advocacy.”

With such close ties to the community it is no wonder that the membership numbers for the Oratorio Singers has swelled these past few years. They not only partner with the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra, but they’ve reached out to the youth of the area as well. According to Potter, there will be several local students performing in this concert. In addition, with such a transient population, the voices are always changing for the group.

“This being a military community, we have people coming and going a lot,” said Potter. “We are about 60 singers strong right now, and we have members from all age and ethnic groups — all walks of life.”

One of the benefi ts for young singers is that when students sing with the Cumberland Oratorio Singers they are not required to pay the dues. All high school and college students can sing with them for free.

It’s been a great season so far and Potter mentioned that their last performance of the 2010-2011 season will be in partnership with the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra on April 30 at Reeves Auditorium.

“We will be singing with them for Serenade. It is one of the pieces they will be doing, and we have auditions, not for the whole chorus, but within the chorus and we are really looking forward to that.”

Get your tickets for the April 1 concert for $12 at the door. College students (of any age with ID) and school age children are admitted free. Find out more at cumberlandoratoriosingers. org or call 822-4447.

Photo: Cumberland Oratorio Singers Artistic Director and Conductor Michael Martin.

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