Audience encouraged to sing along to Messiah

Handel's signature work sure to be a big hit in Oceanside

The Director of Music Ministry at Knox United Church in Parksville

The Director of Music Ministry at Knox United Church in Parksville

Sing-along Messiah will bring audiences to their feet December 11 at Knox United Church.

A core choir consisting of the church choir and members from other choirs will lead a Sing-along Messiah under the direction of Alan C. Whitmore.

While this is the first time Knox United Church has presented Sing-along Messiah, Whitmore said he hopes to make it an annual event.

“I am very excited about presenting Sing-along Messiah. The sing-along format allows the audience to participate as much as they wish. People may sing all the choruses, some of the choruses or sit and listen to others do the singing,” he stated.

Soloists and a double string quartet from the Victoria Conservatory of Music will highlight the afternoon.

For many people living in larger centres, it just wouldn’t be Christmas without participating in a Sing-along Messiah concert. While many folks may not have the time to dedicate to rehearsals or the will to join a choir, they can still get that annual fix of choral exuberance by singing out the most cherished of all Christmas works.

Ironically, G. F. Handel’s glorious Messiah was never intended to be affiliated with Christmas; it was originally written as a thought provoker for Lent and Easter. It does not cover the story of Christmas but rather, the prophecies that foretold the story. Since Handel’s death in 1759, Messiah (note the absence of, ‘The’) has been performed during Advent, the preparatory period leading up to the Christmas season.

It took Handel only 24 days to complete Messiah, much to the dismay of Charles Jennens (1700-1773). Jennens designed and selected the libretto (the text of an opera or other long vocal works) from the New and Old Testaments with the utmost care and felt that Handel’s rush job did not do his work justice … until he heard it. Handel himself believed his composition to be divinely inspired. It is said that after he completed the Hallelujah Chorus, he bolted out of his room exclaiming, “I think I did see all Heaven before me and the great God himself!”

Messiah is an oratorio. An oratorio is described as a semi-dramatic work for orchestra and voices often on a sacred theme.

Like opera, the oratorio tells a story so it is entertaining but without the sets and costumes.

In the oratorio, the chorus plays a much more prominent role which makes the work more accessible to the public so Messiah is a natural for that sing-along experience.

The public is invited to come and sing or just listen to the beautiful sounds of Messiah on Sunday, Dec. 11 at 2:30.

Tickets are $15.00 and are available at Mulberry Bush Bookstores and at Knox United Church at 345 Pym Street in Parksville.

For more information call 250-248-3927.