{mosimage}In 1991, musical groups all over the country banded together to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the death of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In Fayetteville, more than 80 people banded together, under the tutelage of Methodist University Professor Alan Porter, to perform Mozart’s Requiem Mass in D Minor.
    Since that first performance, the group, now called the Cumberland Oratorio Singers, has performed across the county during its annual season. The 2008-2009 season will open on Sunday, Nov. 2 at 4 p.m. in the Reeves Auditorium on the campus of Methodist University. The season will open with Magnifact – featuring “The Lamb” by John Tavener, “Rejoice in the Lamb” by Benjamin Britten; and “Magnificat” by John Rutter.
    The performance is more than an opening for the group, it’s also a new beginning, as Michael Martin begins his inaugural season as the group’s conductor. Martin, a native of Maine, took the baton from Dr. Alan Porter last year. Porter, who led the group since its inception, retired from Methodist University, where he served as the head of the Music Department and the Division of Fine Arts.
    Martin, now the director of choral activities and music education at Methodist, was appointed the artistic director and conductor of the group earlier this year. In 2007, he completed his doctoral studies and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Music Education with an emphasis in Choral Education through Kent State University, Kent, Ohio. He has taught in grades 4-12, in the capacity of orchestral, choral and instrumental education positions throughout New England. He has received recognition as a teacher and conductor, having been the recipient of several teaching awards, and serving as a guest conductor, vocal clinician, and judge for New England and Midwestern festivals. Martin has also conducted a semi-professional community choral group in New Hampshire and an award-winning barbershop chorus in Maine.
    The group is comprised of members from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds and experiences. The season includes four performances, the Nov. 2 performance, one on March 20, 2009 and May 17, 2009. A Christmas concert is free and open to the public.
    Season tickets cost $30 and admit one. The subscription concerts will be held in Reeves Auditorium at Methodist University; the Christmas concert will be presented at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. Individual tickets are $12 per performance. College students of any age (with ID) and schoolchildren are admitted free.
    To order season tickets, send a check (payable to Cumberland Oratorio Singers), your name, address, and the number of season tickets being purchased to: Cumberland Oratorio Singers, c/o Methodist University, 5400 Ramsey St., Fayetteville, N.C. 28311
    For more information, call COS President Mary Potter (822-4447) or Director Michael Martin (630-7153).
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