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UPDATED 'Messiah' concert at MAC postponed to Dec. 20

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UPDATE: The Messiah concert at Mineral Area College has been postponed to Dec. 20

George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah” is an annual Christmas tradition. This particular oratorio – a large-scale musical work for orchestra and choirs – is a narrative based on a religious theme. The music composition is comprised of scriptural text depicting the life of Christ, the Messiah.

Handel, who was born in Germany into a religious and affluent family, composed the “Messiah” in 1741. He spent 24 days writing the oratorio.

The famous work is divided into three parts, including the birth of Jesus or what some describe as the Christmas portion; the passion; and the resurrection, or Easter part.

One of the most famous parts of the “Messiah” is the “Hallelujah Chorus.” It is legend that King George II was in attendance of a “Messiah” performance. When he heard “Hallelujah,” he was so moved that he rose to his feet and people in attendance also stood up. That is why people stand today any time the “Hallelujah Chorus” is performed.

Parkland residents will be able to experience Handel’s “Messiah” performed by two talented groups, the Mineral Area College Singers and Community Singers. Special guests will be the Mineral Area Fine Arts Academy Orchestra.

This special holiday performance will be performed Friday at 7 p.m. in the MAC Fine Arts Theater. Admission is $4.

The “Messiah” will be directed by Sherry Francis and accompanied by Isaac Hallock.

Francis, vocal music director at MAC and MAFAA instructor, said the group has been practicing for their upcoming performance for eight weeks.

“The ‘Messiah’ is one of the most magnificent choral works ever written, truly it is a masterpiece,” said Francis. “To be able to conduct this music with such amazing singers and instrumentalists is a tremendous honor.”

Francis said she’s looking forward to performing with the Mineral Area Fine Arts Academy Orchestra.

“This will be an added surprise, different than the traditional string quartet setting as heard in past years,” she said. “With timpani, woodwinds, brass, organ, piano, double bass and synthesizers, it is sure to be a glorious sound!”

According to Francis, Handel’s oratorio consists of three parts with 53 total songs which include chorus movements written for four-part voices: soprano, alto, tenor and bass. There are also songs for solos, duets and orchestration.

Francis said the “Messiah” has scriptural lyrics with the message of Christ and the Messiah from the prophesy of his coming, birth, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension into heaven where he reigns forever more.

“The beauty of the ‘Messiah’ has a special way of ringing in the Christmas season like no other,” she said.

The concert is expected to last about 75-90 minutes.

MAC Singes will open the concert with a few traditional Christmas favorites followed by a combined performance of the Community Singers and MAC Singers along with the MAFAA Orchestra to present selected movements of chorus, solos, duets and orchestrations for the audience to enjoy.

Audience members may wear masks but masks are not required for performance events. Musicians will not wear masks while performing.

Francis said she has performed the “Messiah” many times as a singer, but this is her first time behind the conductor’s stand.

“Historically, the ‘Messiah’ performance has been a biennial event at Mineral Area College,” said Francis. “I am beyond excited for this opportunity and to keep this tradition alive in the Mineral Area. Please come join us on this very special and joyous evening of music.”

She said that during rehearsal, one of the Community Singers, Dan Reiter, marveled at the nostalgia of this timeless choral work.

He told fellow singers, “With the unique way the music is composed, you will be able to hear your vocal part within the instrumentation and it will bring a tear to your eye when you sing it.”

“The music and the message are powerful and remarkably beautiful,” said Francis. “Don’t miss this amazing performance on Friday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. in the MAC Theater.”

It will be a full weekend for “Messiah,” with a 1 p.m. performance for the choirs when they sing at the “Christmas in My Hometown” event in Park Hills on Saturday, followed by the choirs singing at First Church of God in Leadwood on Sunday at 7 p.m.

Pam Clifton is a contributing writer for the Daily Journal

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