In the Light by Thomas Lloyd - A thriving community in New England is the inspiration for a new choral-theater work from the composer of Bonhoeffer. The concert-length work explores the curious complexity of how an acclaimed choir based in a seemingly peaceful Benedictine community is the home of a coercive, mind-controlling group led by its Prioress-Conductor. A work of fiction based on the composer’s research in to the Community of Jesus in Orleans, Massachusetts, highly skilled musicians and well-educated people are caught in a web of intimidation and fear. Visiting artists and international composers are blind to the suffering that lies beneath a placid surface of high-liturgy and glorious choral singing.
The result of six years of research involving public documents, media investigations, visits with former members and a visit to the community, the work raises essential questions about what it means to lead and what it means to follow within groups at all levels of our society. When do we cross the line from productive to dysfunctional, from life-affirming to malevolent? Can individuals survive such an experience and come out the other side with a sense of self still remaining? Can religious faith survive such a reckoning with the persistence of human evil?