On May 11, along with the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra, the Cumberland Oratorio Singers will perform at Saint Ann Catholic Church at 7:30 p.m. Michael Martin, conductor of the COS is excited about the performances that will be featured that evening. 05-02-12-cos-lgo.jpg

The theme of the show is light and the title of the performance is Let Your Light Shine. Composer Morton Lauridsen’s piece titled Lux Aeterna illustrates the concept of light being very powerful in both poetry and song. The five movements of Lux Aeterna are based on various references to light from sacred Latin texts. The power and finesse of Lux Aeterna will speak to each of us in its own way.

“The first recording of Lux Aeterna by the Los Angeles-based composer Morten Lauridsen demonstrates that it IS possible for important contemporary music to speak directly to the human heart. Composed in 1997 for the LA Master Chorale, Lux Aeterna is a rich, complex, intensely moving piece that people will be listening to for a long time to come,” raves Jim Svejda, National Public Radio at www.peermusicclassical.com.

On the same site, Lauridsen describes his work …“Lux Aeterna — Eternal Light — is an intimate work of quiet serenity centered around a universal symbol of hope, reassurance, goodness and illumination at all levels. This work formed in my mind over several years, and I began serious work on the piece shortly following the completion of Les Chansons des Roses in 1993. I put aside the Lux in early 1994 to compose the Christmas canticle, O Magnum Mysterium. The serenity and the uncomplicated and lyric style of O Magnum Mysterium are continued in Lux Aeterna, which is fashioned on texts from several different Latin sources, including the requiem mass, each containing a reference to Light.”

Born in 1943, Lauridsen was composer-in-residence of the Los Angeles Master Chorale from 1994-2001 and professor of composition at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music for more than thirty years. His works have received three Grammy nominations. In 2006 Lauridsen was named “American Choral Master” by the National Endowment for the Arts, and in 2007 he received a National Medal of arts from President Barack Obama. This is the highest award given to artists and art patrons by the U.S. government.

The conductor of COS, Martin, along with his wife Amanda and their two children David and Meredith, relocated to Fayetteville, North Carolina in 2007 from the great state of Maine. Martin is originally from New England, where he received his Bachelors Degree then received his Advanced Degree in Music Education from Kent State in Maine.

Martin soon discovered that the Cumberland Oratorio Singers group was in need of a conductor and so he quickly jumped at the opportunity of becoming the next conductor. In 2008 he was appointed artistic director and conductor for this group of talented singers.

An Oratorio is a large-scale musical work for orchestra and voices, typically a narrative on a religious theme performed without the use of costumes. The COS is made up of members with a wide range of ethnic backgrounds, ages, and musical experiences. There are currently 70 members in the COS group but it has been as many as 100 members. “The group is so diverse that we are able to do some things that other groups can’t do,” stated Martin. Because of the demographics of the group it has allowed them to connect to the community in a different way and next year they are planning on combining and working more with the Fayetteville Orchestra Symphony. For ticket information, please call COS President Margaretta G. Kelly at 482-0006 or Director Michael Martin at 630-7153.

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