Elora Festival Singers present Brubeck March 28

The Elora Festival Singers present their final concert of their winter series on March 28, at 4pm at the Centre for International Governance Innovation here.

The Light in the Wilderness – An Oratorio for Today was written by jazz icon Dave Brubeck in 1968, but it almost wasn’t written at all.

He originally intended to be a veterinarian, but was drafted into the army in 1942 and served overseas in Patton’s Third Army during the Battle of the Bulge. During his four-year service, he met another musician and formed a band that gained so much popularity that Brubeck returned to the United States and went back to school to study music.

In 1951, the Dave Brubeck Quartet was formed. After years of composing jazz stand­ards, the group disbanded in 1967, allowing Brubeck to start fulfilling his ambitions as a composer of extended orches­tral and choral works. His feeling that the casualties of World War II contradicted the Ten Commandments evoked a spiritual awakening in him.

“So many of my friends got killed in World War II that it just seemed impossible that I wouldn’t see them again,” Brubeck said in a 2001 inter­view.

“Brubeck was really ahead of his time when he wrote this,” said conductor Noel Edison. “It’s an intense, dramatic work with a virtuoso solo part, and exciting jazz portions for or­chestra and choir. The under­lying message of this oratorio is as compelling today as it was 41 years ago.”

Baritone Douglas Mac­Naugh­ton joins the Elora Festival Singers for this en­gage­ment. Dave Warrack, a jazz virtuoso in his own right, brings his jazz ensemble and also accompanies on the piano.

The Centre for International Governance Innovation is at 57 Erb Street West, in Waterloo. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased at the Elora Festival office, 33 Henderson Street in Elora, by phone at 519-846-0331 or 1-888-747-7550, or at www.elorafestival.com.

The 30th Elora Festival runs July 10 to Aug. 2. Details will be avail­able April 15.