In the midst of the busyness of Southwestern Seminary’s fall trustee meeting, Oct. 19-21, trustees were treated with the opportunity to witness the talent of the School of Church Music as students performed a comedic oratorio, “The True Story of Cinderella.” Fifteen School of Church Music students performed, including Master of Music students Naomi Barrett and Malena Torres as Cinderella and the fairy god-mother, respectively, and adjunct piano instructor Moira Hopfe-Ostensen played piano. The performance took place in Reynolds Auditorium in Cowden Hall.

Dean of the School of Church Music Leo Day, who conducted the performance, clarified at the program’s conclusion, “These are all Southwestern students. I have not had to call anyone in to this performance. Everybody is in-house.” Speaking directly to trustees, Day concluded, “This is the quality of student that you are sending to Southwestern.”

“The True Story of Cinderella” was composed by Warren Martin in 1955 at the request of the student body of Westminster Choir College for “something different.” The premiere at Westminster was performed by 13 graduate students with Martin at the piano.

For many years, Warren refused to publish or lend the music, maintaining that people underestimated the difficulty of performing the work correctly. According to Day, the work is most effective when performed with accuracy, adhering strictly to the printed page and not changing or adding to the original intent of the composer.

This means the show is performed in the style of an oratorio, which excludes the use of costumes, scenery and action. In the case of Southwestern’s performance, this allowed for special focus on the musical talent of the 15 performers, with the group collectively exhibiting a unique range of vocal capabilities.