FUS @ Carnegie Hall

Due to COVID-19, the FUS choirs’ performance in Carnegie Hall has been rescheduled to June 21, 2021.

Morten Lauridsen: “Lux Aeterna”

Drew Collins, conductor
Carnegie Hall, NYC
May 30, 2020


Collins conducting at Carnegie Hall, 2007.

Drew Collins

Collins conducting FUS choirs, 2018.


  • Choirs
    • Society Choir of First Unitarian Society (Madison, WI)
    • Meeting House Chorus of First Unitarian Society (Madison, WI)
    • Anybody Choir of First Unitarian Society (Madison, WI)
    • Prairie Unitarian Universalist Society (Madison, WI)
    • House of Hope Presbyterian Church Motet Choir (St. Paul, MN)
    • Orange Coast Unitarian Universalist Congregation (Costa Mesa, CA)
  • Orchestra
    • New England Symphonic Ensemble
  • Conductor
    • Drew Collins serves as Music Director for First Unitarian Society of Madison, Wisconsin. An accomplished academic, Dr. Collins previously served on the music faculties of Central Connecticut State University, Wright State University, and Augustana College, and conducted the University of Cincinnati Men’s Chorus. A prolific composer, arranger, orchestrator, and editor, his works are published by Boosey & Hawkes, Carl Fischer, Earthsongs, Hal Leonard, Kjos, Roger Dean, Santa Barbara, and Walton Music. Dr. Collins earned his degree in music education from Concordia College, Moorhead, MN, where he studied conducting and composition with René Clausen; the master of music in conducting from Boston University, where he studied choral conducting with Ann Howard Jones and Daniel Moe, and orchestral conducting with David Hoose; and the doctorate in choral conducting from University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music (CCM) where he studied choral conducting with Earl Rivers and orchestral conducting with Mark Gibson. Collins has sung under the batons of Bart Bradfield, René Clausen, Richard Coffey, Matthew Culloton, Kenneth Jennings, Ann Howard Jones, James Levine, Daniel Moe, Weston Noble, Earl Rivers, John Rutter, Chris Shepard, Mark Singleton, Dale Warland, and Eric Whitacre. Collins is active as an adjudicator, author, singer, consultant, and producer, and is in demand as a festival conductor, clinician, and private conducting teacher. He has conducted All State choirs, toured domestically and internationally, guest conducted professional-level adult ensembles, and headlined in Carnegie Hall. Contact: drewc@fusmadison.org
  • Morten Lauridsen is one of the most prominent and influential composers in the world today. He was named an “American Choral Master” by the National Endowment for the Arts, awarded the National Medal of the Arts by the President of the United States, and awarded ASCAP’s prestigious Foundation Life in Music Award. His works have been recorded on greater than 200 CDs, five of which have received Grammy Award nominations. His music has been described as “radiant choral works combining musical beauty, power, and spiritual depth that have thrilled audiences worldwide.”
  • Step #1. Obtain a Score. Each singer is responsible for providing their own score. You must have a published score. Self-produced scores (e.g., photocopies) are illegal and will not be permitted in rehearsal or on the Carnegie Hall stage. To purchase, visit jwpepper.com or any other online sheet music retailer. Your local sheet music retailer may also have it in stock.
  • Step #2: Mark Your Score. A marked score showing phrasing, pronunciation, etc. will be available to you on this webpage beginning about March 1. Tempos will be listed in the conductor’s markings document. Please prepare your music slightly slower than and slightly faster than my tempo markings. This will help ensure that you will be as artistically flexible as possible during rehearsals and performance.
  • Step #3: Learn your Part. Singers should choose their own voice part based on their own vocal comfort. There are several options for learning your part:
    • (A) Join us! You are invited to rehearse with us on any Wednesday or Thursday evening from 7:30-8:30 CST January-April at First Unitarian Society of Madison (900 University Bay Dr., Shorewood Hills, WI).
    • (B) Rehearse by video. Thursday rehearsals of the Lauridsen will be live-streamed and archived on our YouTube channel. Once made, videos will continue to be available in perpetuity. View them here https://www.youtube.com/user/fusmadison/search?query=lauridsen. Click on the rehearsal date you need.
    • (C) Part-learning audio files: http://www.cyberbass.com/Major_Works/Lauridsen_M/lux_aeterna.htm.  This is a free resource. Once on the page, click your voice part next to the movement you wish to work on. An organ sound is used for the accompaniment. The vocal parts are played with a digital piano sound, with your voice part louder than the others. This page will allow you to speed up and slow down the tempo, which can be very helpful. (Note: You may need to scroll down further for movements 4 & 5, but they’re there!)
    • (D) Teach yourself at the piano

Rehearsing with us in person or via video is not required. Being prepared before you get to NYC is required! By the time we gather in NYC, we will all be ready to join forces!

Additional Opportunity: Performances Before NYC Completely optional. Any Carnegie singer is welcome to join us for any of the following events, provided you are 100% prepared, have your score fully marked, and attend the dress rehearsal.

  • 3/15 ~ Regular worship services at 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. Movements 2 & 4 only. Dress Rehearsal.: 3/15 at 8:00 a.m.
  • 4/19 ~ Entire Lauridsen LUX. All Music Sunday worship service. Dress Rehearsal: 4/18.
  • 5/10 ~ Entire Lauridsen LUX. Special concert event called “The Road to Carnegie Hall.” Dress Rehearsal.: 5/9 (subject to change; please be in touch before finalizing travel plans).
  • May 27 ~ Arrive New York City (suggested)
  • May 28 & 29 ~ Rehearsals (morning one day, afternoon the other). Free time after 5:00 pm
  • May 30, 2020 ~ Performance! Followed by dinner cruise around the Statue of Liberty
  • May 31 ~ Depart New York City (suggested)
  • Special notes about personalizing your New York experience outside of rehearsal obligations:
    1. Arrive before or depart after the above dates.
    2. On both 5/28 & 5/29, you will have either a morning or afternoon free.
    3. All rehearsal obligations on 5/28 & 5/29 will be done by 5 pm.
  • You will receive an e-mail with your payment history and balance due, if any. If you are owed a refund, that will be indicated as well. Please review this thoroughly to make sure your payment history is accurate.
  • If you applied for financial assistance, the amount of your discount will be reflected on your payment summary. If you requested financial assistance and it is not reflected, please be in touch with me directly at drewc@fusmadison.org.
  • If possible, please go ahead and pay the remaining balance now.
  • Credit card payments may be made by pressing the big blue button above. Many of you have experienced problems with the church’s credit card system. For this reason, you may prefer to send a check. It is entirely up to you.

Each singer is responsible for securing their own hotel accommodations. Rehearsals will be held in a ballroom at Intercontinental New York Times Square (300 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036). If you would like to reserve a room there, call 212-803-4500. To receive the discounted rate of $299/night for up to four people, just mention you are with First Unitarian Society of Madison. There are other hotels within easy walking distance of the rehearsal venue that may offer a better rate.

Each singer is responsible for making their own travel arrangements. Please plan to arrive no later than May 27 and stay at least through May 31.

  • The choir is “self-auditioned.” Any singer who feels they can sufficiently prepare the music in advance and contribute to a technically proficient, sensitive, expressive, and aesthetically beautiful rendering of this magnificent music is welcome.
  • Yes! You may invite friends, relatives, your home choir(s), etc. to sing with you. The more, the merrier! Any friend of yours is a friend of mine.
  • Yes! You may invite non-singing folks to join you in NYC. They do not need to make any payments through First Unitarian Society or to the production company, of course. Note: If they wish to attend the concert, they will need to purchase a ticket.
  • Non-singers: To purchase a concert ticket, email Molly.Waymire@piptix.com or call 917.513.3080.
  • Non-singers: Click here to purchase a ticket for the post-concert cruise. COMING SOON…PLEASE CHECK BACK.

Sopranos and Altos (any gender)

  • All-black formal. Either skirt/top separates (both black), dress, pantsuit, or suit.
    • B. “All black” means no polka dots, stripes, or other patterns with a color other than black (monochrome patterns are fine). Straps, attached corsages, ruffles, camisoles, sequins, etc. must be black. Black sheer accents are fine. If wearing a pantsuit or suit, please make sure your shirt is black.
    • Charcoal grey, navy blue, dark purple, blue, or green velvet, satin, lace, etc. accents are not considered black.
  • Skirt hems should be no longer than floor length and no shorter than ankle-length.
  • Ideal sleeve length is 3/4 or full. Sleeveless and strapless are not permitted unless you are covering them with a formal black jacket or shawl.
  • Conservative necklines are recommended.
  • No colored accessories. Pearl necklaces are fine. More on jewelry below.
  • PLEASE NO: tulle, puffy shoulders, bare arms, hoop skirts, bustles, tiaras, parasols, hand fans, hip-length slits, etc.

Tenors and Basses (any gender)

  • Black jacket, black pants, black bowtie, black tuxedo shoes or dress shoes, black socks.
    • Though it is preferable to have a “real” tuxedo, it is not necessary. (Tuxedo jackets have satin lapels and black cloth buttons. Tuxedo pants have a satin stripe down each leg.) A suit is fine, but it must be jet black (i.e., no pewter buttons on the jacket, or black jeans). Please no tailcoats.
  • Shirt should be a white tuxedo shirt or oxford.
    • Shirt collars should be wingtip, spread, classic, or, if absolutely necessary, button-down or tab. Please no banded/Mandarin, club, or contrast collars. If you are concerned about being too hot on stage, a short-sleeve shirt is acceptable, so long as it has buttons that run the entire length of the shirt.
  • OPTIONAL:
    • Black cummerbund optional.
    • Black vest optional, provided it is not cut too high (should look like a cummerbund to the audience).
    • Black studs optional. Suspenders optional, and may be any color if your jacket buttons, or white or black if it doesn’t.
    • Cufflinks optional, and do not need to be black.
    • Pocket squares optional, but only white or black, please.
    • Small lapel pins are fine.
  • PLEASE NO: long ties, button covers, or sequins.

All Singers

  • In general, formal attire only. No jeans, for example.
  • No colored accents or accessories such as scarves, pocket square, tie, jewelry, etc.
    • Exception: medical bracelets may be any color.
    • Please limit jewelry to 2 or fewer rings, 1 necklace, 2 earrings per ear, and 1 facial piercing (nose, lip, eyebrow).
      • More on facial piercings: stud jewelry only would be ideal.
    • Necklaces against the skin only…no necklaces over shirts.
    • No gloves.
    • No water bottles on stage.
    • Eyeglasses are fine.
  • Medically necessary canes are welcome (black or wood finish, though, please).
    • Mobility assist devices such as walkers, wheelchairs, and crutches are perfectly fine, and there is no constraint on color or finish for these items.
    • If you need to be seated for the concert, an orchestra chair might be available; otherwise, you will need to provide your own stool or chair. Either way, we need to know ahead of time so we can notify the stagehands.
  • All singers should have a black folder for concert-use. I recommend a one that has a strap to keep the folder open, such as The Black Folder. No shiny finishes, such as a 3-ring binder with a clear plastic pocket on the outside. The folder does not need to be fancy, but it should be rigid.

Rehearsal Videos