The BYU-Idaho Sacred Music Series has been uplifting and inspiring the BYU-Idaho community since 1993. This year the Music Department will perform, "The Redeemer" by Dr. Robert M. Cundick. The biennial concert typically provides a combination of scripture, oratorio, and music created by a composer hand selected and invited to create a piece for the event.
"We don't audition, we don't put out an invitation for people to submit works, we actually identify composers and those involved in music in the Church that we feel that we could work with and that their music has a voice that we can resonate with that can be communicated well here at BYU-Idaho," said Kevin Brower, College Dean of Performing and Visual Arts.
This year's performance will take place on March 19 at 7:30 p.m. in the BYU-Idaho Center, and will pay homage to the late DR. Robert M. Cundick, former Salt Lake Tabernacle organist for 27 years, who recently passed away in January of this year.
Cundick's work, "The Redeemer" was first performed in 1978.
"We initially had a composer lined up for this year, but that composer was called on a mission with his wife. In the mean time we decided to come back to one of our beloved composers for the Church, and a good friend of BYU-Idaho, Robert Cundick," Brower said. "In honor of him, of his life, of his musical output we're composing one of his most beloved pieces, an oratorio type work.
The oratorio consists of three parts: The Prophecy, The Sacrifice, and The Promise. The concert will feature the BYU-Idaho Symphony Orchestra and multiple campus choirs and soloists. Under the direction of Kevin Brower, Robert Tueller will direct the Symphony Orchestra, Randall Kempton will direct the choral activities, and Eda Ashby will act as artistic director of the performance.
The concert will allow the audience to experience the story of the Savior in three sections of the production and through various mediums of music and voice. It will also serve as an opportunity for the students involved to become part of a BYU-Idaho tradition that has the potential to pave the way for future endeavors.
"People are writing significant works, but we are uniquely positioned on this campus because of many things including the support of the community, the support of the university, the training of the musicians, the focus on gospel centered living and performance; we're uniquely positioned to celebrate this kind of repertoire, this body of output," Brower said.
The Sacred Music Series is a culmination of collaboration, hard work, and is by its very nature, a spiritual endeavor.
"It usually takes about two years from thought to actually making it happen because they have to write all of the music," Brower said.
"It's been fun to watch that because as eager as we are when we approach something of this significance, it brings us to a state of humility and literally broken hearts and contrite spirits. I love that process; every time there's been that refining process," Brower said.