It was 2007 when Adam Fieldson and Chris Foss first sang together in University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s all-male acapella group, Rocktavo.
Fieldson was in his first year at the university, beginning his bachelor’s degree in vocal performance.
Foss was in his final year, finishing his master’s degree in choral conducting.
Fast forward to 2015 when the pair again share a stage as members of Cantus, a professional acappella chamber music ensemble based in Minneapolis.
Cantus will perform at the Lied Center for Performing Arts on Nov. 3 at 7:30 p.m. The show will explore the theme of love through both classical and contemporary songs.
“The show is called ‘The Four Loves,’” Foss said. “The Greeks had this school of thought that love is such a huge concept for humanity and possibly the most universal thing that we all feel, but it’s so huge that they had four separate types of words to define love.”
There is romantic love – eros. And familial love – storge. There is love that transcends the bounds of humanity and is instead based in the spiritual – agape. Finally, there is brotherly love – philia.
“As far as contemporary music, for this program at the Lied Center we actually commissioned four brand new works from four different composers,” Foss said. “Each composer got a different type of love. Probably one of the most exciting is from Dr. Ysaye Barnwell. She set a piece of Thomas Merton text, a prayer, to music. It’s called ‘Tango With God,’ and it’s about the struggle we all have with God.”
In bringing the different loves to life through music, Cantus will perform a diverse array of compositions.
“It’s the biggest topic – love songs. It’s basically every song,” Foss said. “So how do you distil that huge idea down to only a two hour show? Really we tried to include as many diverse perspectives as we could.”
Cantus will perform an eclectic mixture of songs, old and new, including selections from Bollywood film and from places such as Ireland and Germany along with their four commissioned pieces.
“What I hope people would take away is that this idea of love is just so huge and far reaching,” Foss said. “That they leave with an idea that love is bigger than what they thought it was.”
For Foss and Fieldson, performing at the Lied Center with Cantus makes their already poignant show especially meaningful.
“For me, it’s pretty emotional because I was in Lincoln for seven years. It’s the longest I’ve lived anywhere, so I consider myself an honorary Lincolnite,” Fieldson said. “All of my professors are still [at UNL] and getting to sing for them, to show that I’ve somewhat established myself and that I get to sing professionally, which is such an amazing opportunity. To share that with my colleagues from my time at UNL is going to be really, really fun.”
The pair is also enthusiastic about making a few pit stops at their favorite Lincoln eateries while in town.
Foss said he wants Bison Witches.
“I’m looking forward to a Doozy’s sandwich, a LaMar’s donut and a post-show beer from Lazlo’s,” Fieldson said, laughing.