What do Valentine’s Day, Greece and Bethel University have in common? These are the very ingredients that made Luminos, a five-part a capella group comprised of Bethel graduates.
The original group formed in 2018 during a fundraiser for a trip to Greece with Voices of Triumph (VOT), Bethel University’s a capella group. Students in the group teamed up and went around as Valentine’s grams, singing love songs to bring light and love to the Michiana area. Josh Maurer ‘18, Bethany (Miller) Mullet ‘19, Wesley Lantz ‘18 and Michaela (Love) Lantz ‘20 decided to keep traveling and singing together as a group, adding Anne Zebell ‘20 in 2019 following another member’s departure.
The four traveled locally with hopes of going on tour after they all had graduated, but the COVID-19 pandemic kept them from growing their audience. Luminos was down to just three members by the end of 2020. “Everything was shut down, we couldn’t perform, we could barely even meet because of COVID-19 restrictions,” explains Josh Maurer, director and member of Luminos. “We thought it was over.”
Josh was talking with his brother, Jesse Maurer ‘14, who joked about the possibility of him and his wife, Jessica (Lovely) Maurer ‘13, joining the group. Both Jesse and Jessica graduated from Bethel and were members of VOT during their time at Bethel. “Jesse mentioned he was a beatboxer, and Jess can sing tenor, so they could join the group … and I realized that just might work!”
The rest of the group agreed that the addition of Jesse and Jessica was perfect, creating the Luminos we know today. The first year for the new group of five was all about learning each other musically. The last two years have been full of traveling and performing throughout the U.S., including performances in Washington D.C. at the 2023 President’s Conference for the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU). The group also participated in this year’s Oaklawn’s Got Talent competition and won.
No matter where they perform, whether it be a church or an RV park, Luminos boldly proclaims God’s love through their music and conversation. During one performance specifically, the group was singing “How Great Thou Art” and noticed a girl standing in the back of the church. The girl asked to talk to the group after the show, where she explained her dark circumstances and that she and her boyfriend were passing by the church when they felt they should go in and listen to the music. She heard the Gospel through their music and wanted to give her life to Christ.
“We sing all over the place … sometimes it feels like just work. Those are the moments when you see the tangible impact it makes, and we know it’s worth it. That’s why we started the group originally,” Josh Maurer says.
As for the future of Luminos, the group has big plans. They look forward to creating music videos, touring more and releasing more of their three-part album. A Hymn, part one of the album, was released this July, with part two, A Carol, releasing on November 24 and part three, A Classic, releasing early in the new year.
No matter what comes, Luminos is committed to the same mission that first brought them together: spreading light and love to those around them. “We’re always going to sing ‘Amazing Grace’ or ‘Great is Thy Faithfulness’, and we’re always going to speak the Gospel, whether we’re at a festival or café … that’s just who we are.”