Tryon Fine Arts Center invites you to join the chorus in singing Handel’s Messiah on Saturday, December 16. Community members interested in participating will assemble at 1:30 p.m. to rehearse before singing on the Center’s Veh Stage at 3 p.m. A reception will follow the performance.
“There’s something special about getting together to sing at Christmas with friends, family and other loved ones,” says Brennan Szafron, organist and choirmaster of Tryon’s Holy Cross Episcopal Church. “People, I feel, look for opportunities to come together and pray in ways other than spoken prayer.”
Szafron will lead the informal chorus for the Messiah performance. Dr. Elizabeth Child will accompany on piano. Child is a classical pianist with a Doctorate in Performance from The Juilliard School in New York City. She now resides in Tryon.
“Beth’s reputation truly precedes her,” says Szafron. “She is loved and respected by the Tryon community, and that’s why it made sense for me to ask her to be the pianist for this singalong.”
Composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, Messiah and its rousing “Hallelujah Chorus” is one of the most famous and identifiable pieces of Baroque choral music in history. It was first performed in Dublin on April 13, 1742, and received its London premiere nearly a year later.
Known as a Scratch, People’s or Do It Yourself (DIY) Messiah, informal choral performances of Handel’s popular work began in 1749 and have continued for almost 300 years. The tradition originated in Britain, when choral societies allowed untrained amateur singers to participate in performances of large-scale concert works. Because Handel’s Messiah was composed to be performed with a limited number of rehearsals, it lent itself to the large Handel Festivals held from the 1820s onwards in cities including Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and London. At these gatherings, large, amateur choirs were formed from members of the public who traveled there from all over the country in order to participate.
“I love the memorable melodies found in Messiah,” says Szafron. “There’s just something so satisfying about singing ‘HAAAAA-le-lu-jah!’”
This is a free community event and everyone is invited to continue this centuries-old tradition of singing and enjoying Handel’s masterpiece.
Tryon Fine Arts Center is located at 34 Melrose Avenue, in Tryon. On Saturday, January 20, from 6–10 p.m., TFAC presents Chase Away the Blues. Learn more at TryonArts.org.