The annual spring concert by the deGraffenried Chorale will be this weekend, and the group will be picking up right where it left off at Christmas time.
For its Christmas concert, the Chorale performed a single work Part I of “Messiah” by George Frideric Handel. The Chorale will be performing Parts II and III on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at the United Methodist Temple. The concert is free to the public, but tax deductible donations will be accepted.
“This is the part for the Easter season,” said director Mary Beth Dowden. “A part of it people will know, but a part of it some people don’t really get a chance to hear very often.”
The work is an oratorio, which is a dramatic work for a chorus that is not staged like an opera, but more like a concert.
“We’re doing the whole thing,” Dowden said. “Including some parts that usually get skipped.
Handel wrote Messiah in 1741 in 24 days.
“You can hardly deny the fact that Handel was inspired by God,” Dowden said. “That is 260 pages of very intricate manuscript in just 24 days.”
It was first performed in Dublin, April of 1742 in a concert for charitable purposes.
“One of the things I read about Handle is that he was a man of deep faith and compassion and he freely gave to charity, even when his circumstances were limited,” Dowden said. “The first performance of ‘Messiah’ raised 400 English pounds and freed 142 men from debtors’ prison.”
This weekend’s performance will feature five soloists including Iris Perez (soprano), Anne Crawford (alto), Joshua Baldwin (tenor), Wade Baker (bass) and Philip Crawford (bass).
Susan Fox will once again serve as the accompanist for the Chorale.
“She is just so amazing and capable,” Dowden said. “We are fortunate to have her working with us.”
Dowden said that because of illness and some singers taking a break, the numbers will be slightly down in the Chorale this weekend.
“But we have picked up a new bass, who will be singing his first concert with us, so that will be exciting,” she said.
During the Christmas concert, the Chorale sang the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ despite it not being included in Part I of “Messiah.”
“We will be performing the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ again,” Dowden said. “It’s always done at the end of many Christmas concerts, but it’s actually at the end of Part II and that is when people will hear it on Sunday.”
The Chorale has had an enjoyable time preparing for this difficult concert.
The work is really moving. The gravity of the sacrifice really hits you. It is really expressive,” Dowden said. “It’s a challenge for the singers, but it’s been something good for us. It will be quite a feeling of accomplishment when we will have finished the entire work in one year. I’m really proud of them.”
The timing for performing “Messiah” at this time of year could not be more perfect.
“I think those who attend will be uplifted musically as well as spiritually,” Dowden said. “It is very appropriate to perform this on Palm Sunday to lead everyone into Holy Week.”
The Chorale has one other concert planned this season, which will be more of a light evening of song. It will be April 30 at the old Logan County courthouse and will feature the groups annual silent auction fundraiser.
To contact OJ Stapleton, email [email protected] or call 270-726-8394.