Of Perpetual Solace: Artistic Process

Canterbury Voices is honored to present ‘Of Perpetual Solace,’ an original multimedia work composed by Dr. Edward Knight (Composer-In-Residence, Oklahoma City University), with libretto and visual art by M.J. Alexander. This piece was years in the making, delayed twice by COVID-19, and ultimately realized on the Civic Center stage before a live, socially distanced audience with multimedia components. Due to generous funding from a grantor this past season, Canterbury was able to offer both in-person and virtual concerts. The recording the judges will view from the above URL is Canterbury’s completed work prepared for virtual audiences.   Due to the pandemic, Canterbury had to reimagine this concert and plan to accommodate the social distancing of its performers. While originally written for as many as 332 performers on one stage, the artistic team reduced the numbers to 180 with the largest ensemble at 62 masked members spread out across the Civic Center Music Hall stage. This performance featured Canterbury’s adult chorus in addition to Canterbury Youth Voices, the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, and cantor Lisa Reagan Love. Knowing that each element would have to be recorded in separate sessions, the organization enlisted the help of sound and video engineer brothers Pat and Matt Horton. Each element of the performance was pre-recorded in the same venue at different times starting with the orchestra, creating a click track to use during subsequent sessions. As each choral layer was added, polarity phase reversal was used to eliminate unnecessary stage noise. Once the final audio mixdown was completed, the team coordinated video recordings on the grounds of the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum. During the performance, where the large chorus, led by Randi Von Ellefson, sang live on stage, the completed film played on a large screen suspended above the singers.   A poetic, world premiere for full orchestra and large chorus, ‘Of Perpetual Solace’ is a musical reflection of remembrance, resilience, and hope to commemorate the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing (originally scheduled to premiere in March 2020 honoring the 25th Anniversary of the Bombing). The work creates an ethereal sound of remembrance and reflection. The final note lingers with echoes of the breath of life and the continued promise of perpetual solace.