Lancaster Illuminare Performance Recording Released

The sanctuary of First Presbyterian Church of Lancaster, Ohio witnessed a “musical tsunami” of sorts on a recent Sunday afternoon with a performance of Elaine Hagenberg’s Illuminare by a chorus of some 70 voices and a 16-piece orchestra. It was the largest ensemble in memory in the congregation’s long history.

At its essence Illuminare is an evocative journey taking the listener through Biblical highpoints with Latin texts in five movements:

1. Splendor; a majestic, powerful opening punctuated with joyful “Gloriae.”
2. Caritas; a tender moment of peace and beauty featuring women’s voices.
3. Nox; a jarring movement of darkness, chaos, confusion and despair.
4. Nuneram Pacis; the darkness fades. Light (Lux) and peace (Pacis) emerge.
5. Illuminare his; joy is restored and light points us to a brighter future.

Hagenberg is an award-winning composer with more than 50 commissioned works. Her compositions have been performed world-wide in concert halls in Australia, South America, Europe and the United States.

“I am thrilled and humbled to be able to offer this composition to the community,” said John McClain, conductor of the Omnis Choir of First Presbyterian and the Chamber Singers of Logan High School, the two groups comprising the chorus.

McClain is a graduate of Capital University’s vocal music program and was recently selected as a Fellow in the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio’s Growing Home Fellowship designed to encourage young people to stay in and contribute to the Appalachian region.

The church was filled to capacity. Following a lengthy standing ovation the hope was expressed for an encore performance, and McClain teased with a hint that he has asked all performers to keep their scores and stand by.

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Ken Culver, Lancaster Herald Community Contributor

By Ken Culver

Ken Culver is a journalism graduate of the University of Wisconsin and former radio/tv reporter in Milwaukee for United Press International. He moved to Ohio, is retired and stays busy in many community activities including a tenor voice in Lancaster's First Presbyterian Church Omnis choir.