feast of lights

University of Redlands students are first to write the Feast of Lights ‘masterwork’

Since the annual University of Redlands Feast of Lights was conceived in 1947, this musical portrait of the birth of Christ has been renowned for its artistry— the music, the costumes, the tableaux, the candlelight — as well as for its hopeful, joyous spirit. This year’s performance is even more exceptional, as the composers of the show’s musical centerpiece are U of R music composition majors Jamison Stevens ’22 and Timothy Cunningham ’22. A handful of students have written music for the Feast of Lights before, but Stevens and Cunningham, who are also members of U of R’s Chapel Singers, are the first ever to have composed the central “masterwork.” The idea came to Stevens after he witnessed his first Feast of Lights in 2018; he was so inspired he immediately went to Cunningham and suggested writing a piece for it. Cunningham’s response? “Is that even allowed?” When the students proposed the idea to their composition professor, Antony Suter, however, he was supportive. Suter says, “Taking on that big of a project is generally not something that would be prudent for a couple of first-year…

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