For more than 20 years the people of Cumberland County have had access to incredible music through the Cumberland Oratorio Singers. The Cumberland Oratorio Singers are a symphonic chorus that was originally inspired by the bicentennial of Mozart’s death. Since their first performance in 1993, the group has grown in both notoriety and membership. The have performed in venues all over the county and have been represented at many different community functions, often as featured guests. The 2013/2014 season opens on Oct. 25.10-16-13-cumberland-oratorio.gif

The members of this group of vibrant and diverse singers show their love of music by sharing it with the community. They do this not only through their performances, but also through the diversity in the choir itself. “There are lots of church choirs in Fayetteville, but we are the only community choir. We are not the only choral music in Fayetteville, but we want the community to understand music is for everybody and singing is for everybody,” said Michael Martin, the director of choral activities and music education.

Choral music does a lot more for the community than just provide entertainment. It helps to keep the city active and is part of what makes Fayetteville a great place to live. Through the outreach for potential members as well as the many performances around the community, the Cumberland Oratorio Singers help to keep the arts in Fayetteville vibrant and interesting, as is their goal. “As composer Robert Shaw once said, ‘If it wasn’t for community choirs there would be no choral music,’ and he was right. For a city to be vibrant it must have a strong arts and culture and I am happy to help strengthen the musical aspect of culture,” said Martin.This year the first performance of the season is on Oct. 25. The performance is titled Life Through Poetry and Song and focuses on how art reflects aspects of life and society. Like all of their performances, the night will be filled with beautiful and touching music. “This particular performance is based on some poetry set to music composed by some famous composers,” Martin said.

Poetry and music are very similar forms of art that both make use of rhythm and language to convey meaning. For this reason combining the two is only natural and many poems have been set to music. The performance will also feature the Cross Creek Chorale, which is a completely new aspect of the Cumberland Oratorio Singers. These 26 singers auditioned and were chosen from 45 members of the Cumberland Oratorio Singers.

The poetry of this night will be set to the music of composers Britten, Clausen, Effinger, Vaughn-Williams and other composers. It is notable, however, that there is a theme to these composers as well. Martin explained. “We will be hearing music done by American and British composers. We call it across the sea and back again. This is not the overall name, but we do have it set up in the program so that we start with American composers, go to British composers then come back again.” The show will start at 7:30 p.m. at the Highland Presbyterian Church 111 Highland Ave.

For more information on the Cumberland Oratorio Singers or their upcoming 2013-2014 season visit the website

Photo:  he Cumberland Oratorio Singers join with the Cross Creek Chorale to open the 2013/2014 season on Oct. 25 at Highland Presbyterian Church with Life through Poetry and Song.

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