For members of the 5-part modern a cappella group Luminos, music is all about bringing the light.
“Luminos – it means light,” said Josh Maurer, one of the group’s founding members. “We came across the name and loved that idea. People are sad and having rough goes of it all over the place. If we can be a light, bring some happiness and some joy to people, that’s all we want to do.”
The group, which consists of Josh, fellow founding member Bethany Miller, Anne Zebell and Jesse and Jessica Maurer (Josh’s brother and sister-in-law), was originally formed at Bethel University in 2018. It was during a time that Josh and Bethany described as “heavy” – with lots going on in their personal and school lives. Josh and Bethany, along with two of their classmates, were members of Bethel’s a cappella choir, Voices of Triumph. The choir was split into smaller groups to do singing valentines as a fundraiser for a choir trip.
“We went out all day, traveling through the area, singing together,” Josh remembered. “It was just the best day. All the heaviness went away, and we just had such a good time. And then we were like, ‘We should keep singing together.’ ”
So they did. By the end of 2019, they were gaining popularity. One of their members had dropped out and Anne had joined the crew. In December that year, they performed 17 shows across the Midwest, in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Anne and Bethany were set to graduate in 2020.
“The plan was, when we graduate, we’re going on tour and we’re going to go gangbusters,” Bethany recalled. “Right around that time is when Covid happened, and there was this question, ‘Are we just done?’ Maybe this is the sign that it was never supposed to go anywhere.”
Along with the rest of the world, they went into quarantine. A year and a half later, they decided to revive the group. By then, another member had stepped out, and Josh’s brother Jesse volunteered himself and his wife Jessica to join, half-jokingly. But Josh took him seriously and auditioned the two, who the group agreed were an ideal fit.
The group describes their music as modern a cappella, think Pentatonix – you could even call it a cappella pop, except it’s not all pop. They sing a fair bit of Christian and holiday favorites, as well. And the sound isn’t just harmonies, it’s more like a vocal band.
“I think that’s part of the surprise that people don’t expect that when they hear a cappella,” said Jesse. “They expect to hear barbershop and not necessarily a band sound.”
As for the future, the group is planning to do some recording this year – multiple EPs or an album – and to continue performing – they’re even set to sing in the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. for a conference.
“We’ve grown a lot, we’ve done more this year than we’ve ever done before and it’s grown rapidly,” Josh said. For now, they plan to “have fun, take what comes and see what happens.”