Cosmops’ singing sparks energy for Loutit District Library patrons

Loutit District Library was filled with the voices of the Cosmops men's choir Sunday afternoon when the local vocal group put on a free concert. The group's director, Joshua Ledesma, said that he and the other Cosmops enjoy getting out in front of the community to perform at events. "This is what we really love to do,' he said. "We love to sing for people who wouldn't normally get this kind of experience.'
Alex Doty
Apr 11, 2011

The Cosmops first performed in 1933 as an octet. Within a year, they had grown into a male chorus of close to 50 singers, which competed in the Chicagoland Music Festival.

The early Cosmops emphasized classical music, but have since tried to balance performances with a variety of musical styles. Their focus today is on an eclectic show of quality music.

Ledesma said he has been directing the group since September 2009 and is enthusiastic about the performers.

“It really is just about making music, and you can feel the energy coming off of the crowd, and you can feel the energy coming off the group,” he said. “And really, that’s what I feed off of, because the music is so important and it’s so beautiful.”

Larry Halverson, the library’s community relations coordinator, said about 80 people attended Sunday’s concert.

Ledesma said men’s choirs are starting to die off, and he was hopeful that it could continue into the future. By exposing the choir music to the crowd at Loutit District Library, he said he was hopeful others might be inspired to take up singing — especially younger singers.

“We’re trying to build a program that’s sustainable, so that once members start retiring and they get past their prime, we’ll have other individuals that will be able to take the torch and carry the tradition on — because it’s so important,” Ledesma said. “And if we don’t have any younger people doing it, it’s just going to die. We’d lose so much important work.”

According to Ledesma, the Cosmops typically have two set performances per year, as well as three or four performances from February to May, and another three or four from September to December.

“The more we can do, the happier we are, because it’s just a joy to make music,” Ledesma said.

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