DMA Student Emerson Eads Debuts 'A Mass for the Oppressed'

Author: Matt Haines

A Mass for the Oppressed is an original setting of the traditional Latin Mass by Alaskan composer and conductor Emerson Eads. It is an emotional and artistic response to the release of the Fairbanks Four. The composer has written this work for them: Marvin Roberts, Kevin Pease, Eugene Vent, and George Frese. The mass is dedicated to the memory of his friend, Fr Normand Pepin, SJ, a Pulitzer prize-nominated composer, and dedicated advocate for social justice.

More broadly, A Mass for the Oppressed aims to draw attention to the plight of the oppressed everywhere. The composer desires to create a musical space where the voice of the oppressed can be heard and the need for criminal justice reform can resonate.

This mass features text from the Latin Mass, it draws inspiration from the Bible and from the diary of Pope Francis, and sets poetry and prose of the composer's brother, Evan Eads. This year, was declared by Pope Francis a year of mercy: 2016 Jubilee, and fittingly, Pope Francis' words form the central Credo movement.

In November, Emerson Eads will be combining the forces of the Concordia Choir of Notre Dame and a professional orchestra, along with soprano, Tess Altiveros; mezzo-soprano, Toby Newman; tenor, Barry Banks; and bass-baritone, David Miller. The event will feature the midwest premiere and world premiere recording, under the direction of the composer, documented and videoed by Sacred Music Notre Dame, with production designed and recorded by the grammy award-winning producer of 5/4 Productions, Thom Moore.


You can watch Emerson talking about this unique piece below.