December 2, 1999

Handel's Messiah To Be Performed December 18

Usually a choir rehearses a   number of times, perhaps even once  a  week
for a whole semester, before putting on a work of   the magnitude of
Handelís Messiah. On Saturday, December 18, this entire process will be
telescoped into a single afternoon and evening at the Manhattan Arts Center.
Conductor, singers and accompanists will gather in the afternoon to
rehearse (2-5 p.m.) and will perform selections from the work at 7:30 p.m.
that evening. Singers from Manhattan and surrounding communities are
invited to participate in this afternoon and evening of music-making.
Scores will be provided, loaned by First United Methodist Church of
Manhattan. The program is underwritten by Manhattan Ink.

Handelís Messiah is the obvious candidate for a project of
this nature. Many people who sing in choirs have already sung at least
sections of the work, if not the entire piece. Some of the performers
may even have sung (parts of) the work every year for a number of years.
The challenge is not one of notes, but of singing as a well-blended,
well rehearsed choir  with just a few hours of rehearsal.
This year the work will again be conducted by Dr. Reginald
Pittman; soloists are being recruited from both the university and the
community. In keeping with Handelís philosophy that his art
should also benefit charity, the December 18 performance will
benefit both the Flinthills Breadbasket and the Manhattan Arts Center:
singers and audience are requested either to make a $3 donation
to the Center or to bring  three  cans for the Breadbasket. Larger and
smaller donations will also be gratefully accepted!

Incidentally, the tradition of the audience standing for the magnificent
ďHallelujahĒ chorus dates back to the first performance of the work in
London in 1743 (the work received its first-ever performance in
Dublin, Ireland, the previous year), when George II was so moved that he
rose to his feet, bringing the entire audience with him. The tradition is
maintained to this day.