Missouri State University-West Plains (MSU-WP) and the West Plains Council on the Arts (WPCA) invite everyone to a Community Messiah Sing at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 6, at the West Plains Civic Center, 110 St. Louis St. in West Plains.
The performance will be directed by Larry Dame. The event is open seating with no advanced reservations required. Non-singers are welcome to come, listen and enjoy, organizers said.
The Christmas portion of “Messiah”, using the G. Schirmer score, will be performed. The audience is invited to sing along in these favorite Messiah choruses: And The Glory of the Lord, And He Shall Purify, O Thou that Tellest Good Tidings To Zion, For Unto Us a Child is Born, Glory to God, and of course, Hallelujah!
More about Handel and “Messiah”
G. F. Handel was born in Halle, Germany, Feb 23, 1685, a vintage year for Baroque composers as this was the same year J. S. Bach was born. Handel became a prominent German-British Baroque composer, famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos. He received musical training in Halle and Hamburg, Germany, and in Italy before settling in London in 1712. He became a naturalized British subject in 1727.
The people of England were getting tired of music in foreign languages and wanted works they could understand. In the summer of 1741, Handel received an invitation from the Lord Lieutenant in Dublin to compose a new sacred oratorio which would crown a series of performances.
In July of 1741, Charles Jennens, a wealthy landowner with musical and literary interests sent Handel a new libretto for an oratorio and in a letter to a friend, dated July 10, 1741, Jennens wrote: “I hope Handel will lay out his whole Genius and Skill upon it, that the Composition may excel all his former Compositions, as the subject excels every other subject; the subject is Messiah.”
Handel began to compose the music on Aug. 22, 1741, and Sept. 14, 1741, the entire oratorio was finished. At the end of the oratorio, he penned the letters “SDG”, Soli Deo Gloria, “To God alone the glory.”
Rehearsals began for Messiah in March of 1742 and on April 13, 1742, Messiah was performed as a charitable performance in Dublin, Ireland. Word had spread about the music; therefore, expecting a large audience, the men were told not to wear their swords as was the custom at formal gatherings and the women were told to not wear the hoops in their dresses. Over 700 filled the hall for the first performance.
Today, one can hear a performance of Messiah every year, not only at Christmas, but also around Easter. Handel died April 14, 1759, and is buried in Westminster Abbey in London.
How to participate
If you are interested in participating in the chorus, practice CDs and scores will be made available. Contact the MSU-WP University/Community Programs (U/CP) office at 417-255-7966 for more information.
Partial funding for this event is provided by Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.