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Song Cycle Pays Tribute to Stories Behind Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

This year marks the centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, and a new song cycle co-commissioned by Arlington-based Urban Arias commemorates the memory of those whose remains are interred there, as well as the countless others whose stories they represent - the soldiers, those they left behind, and the Honor Guard who stand watch day and night. Titled "Unknown," the five-song work was created by composer Shawn Okpebholo and poet laureate Marcus Amaker. The piece premiered last month at Wolf Trap, performed by members of the Inscape Chamber Orchestra, baritones Michael Mayes and Schyler Vargas and mezzo-soprano Taylor Raven. The performance has been produced into a video with dramatic and historic scenes and will be available online for a month beginning Veterans Day, November 11. (See">trailer)

A Tempo this Saturday (11/6 at 7 pm) features a conversation with Okpebholo, who is a Professor of Composition and Music Theory at Wheaton College Conservatory of Music, and Robert Wood, founder and conductor of Urban Arias, about the work and its inspirations.

(Photos: Below left - Robert Wood, founder and director of Urban Arias; below right - composer Shawn Okpebholo)

Rachel Katz is the host of A Tempo which airs Saturdays at 7 pm.