A quartet of classically-trained musicians will be performing beautiful renditions of ballads at the Lincoln Cultural Center Friday. The Sons of Serendip is the first of four concerts offered through the 2019-2020 Lincoln County Concert Association’s series.
These four young musicians came together in a very serendipitous way. They all met while in graduate school at Boston University, yet even their attendance at Boston University was fated. Micah Christian was grappling with the decision of whether to accept an offer to Teach for America or attend grad school at Boston University for theology. On the day he was called to make a decision, a recruiter from Teach for America told Christian that something within her spoke to her saying that he belonged at Boston University. And so he went.
Cordaro Rodriguez was applying for law school. His pre-law advisor at Princeton encouraged him to apply to Boston College for law school. Rodriguez confused Boston College for Boston University, and there he applied. And so he went.
Kendall Ramseur was in prayer trying to decide which grad school offer to accept in pursuit of his master’s in cello performance. A “beaming morning sun opened his eyes the next morning and a voice of peace whispered to him, ‘Boston University.’” Of course there were better financial aid offers but still he went.
Mason Morton’s harp teacher at Rice University entrusted him into the hands of her former teacher, Ann Hobson Pilot of Boston University, for grad school. Mason packed his SUV with his harp and all of his belongings and drove from Houston to Boston. He had no idea where he would live but still he went.
Rodriguez, Ramseur and Morton were all roommates when Micah Christian suggested they come together as a quartet and try out for season nine of “America’s Got Talent.” While they were all accomplished musicians, they had never performed together before the audition tape they sent in.
“I remember we were in the kitchen, just talking and I said to them, ‘guys, this actually could be something,’” Christian said. “We joked about it, never really thinking that we’d become a group but we sent in an audition tape to see what happened. They called us back three weeks later asking if we wanted to audition in front of the judges for television. The next thing you know, we were in the finale.”
The quartet decided to stay together to see how far they could take it. Christian, a former teacher from Randolph, Massachusetts, is the lead vocalist of the group. Rodriguez, a former attorney from Charlotte, is the pianist and guitarist. Ramseur, a former cello instructor also from Charlotte, is the cellist and vocalist. Morton, who is a former teacher from Atlanta, is the harpist for the quartet.
“It’s not something that we had planned but it came together in a beautiful way,” Christian said. “We’ve been touring and recording full time for five years now.”
Often their arrangements will start out with the pianist, Christian explained, and from there a lot of it happens through improv. Once they share some parts that they like, they slow it down and lock in the parts.
“Right when we started arranging together in the very beginning, the synergy was instant,” Christian said. “It was a smooth process and we were arranging songs pretty quickly that way.”
The group does a mixture of songs that people will know and some that they may not know as well adding a good dose of storytelling to make a connection with the audience.
“The goal is to create an experience for the audience and also for ourselves,” Christian said. “We try to connect and have a good time.”
Sons of Serendip will perform this Friday, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. Adult membership to LCCA is $50, student, $15, two parent family, including all children under 18, $115 and one parent family, $65. Membership includes all four concerts. That fee also covers all of the concerts of LCCA’s three reciprocal associations in Gastonia, Statesville and Albemarle. Membership to LCCA is not required to attend a concert, however, tickets will be available at the door for $20 per ticket.