IT BEGINS WITH “COMFORT YE” AND ENDS WITH “HALLELUJAH!” by Thomas Putnam
I grew up hearing G. F. Handel's MESSIAH, a lot. My parents were both music teachers and soloists and conductors. The solos and choruses of this work were simply old friends that were a part of our household. Every year now when I finally sit down after all the preparations, and hear a young tenor offer the amazing, embracing sound and words “Comfort ye,” I know where I am...and it's a good place to be.
Along with faithful sponsors Bob and Marsha Chesko, we once again offer a rare opportunity for area residents this Sunday. The Christmas portion of this great choral masterpiece is presented as an opportunity for audience members to sing the choruses and to hear vocalists from Mansfield University singing the solos.
I have experienced such “sing-a-long” events in large cities and found them enormously thrilling.This year Dr. Peggy Dettwiler, director of choral activities at Commonwealth University Mansfield will be directing the event. Marian Miller will be at the keyboard, with string players from the PSU Graduate String Quartet including Allison Smith, Vinicius Vierira, Zephyr Wills, and Ruth Stokes. Soloists are recent graduates or current students from Mansfield University including Rachael Karwowski, soprano; Jessica Strouse, alto; Carter Route, tenor; and Carson J. Witherite, bass.
Audience members are encouraged to sit in vocal sections of soprano, alto, tenor, bass and sing on the choruses. We can provide scores of the work, or you can bring their own. Many audience members choose to sit back and listen to the glorious sounds in the acoustically fine St. Paul's Episcopal Church.
The event began and continues as a benefit for the HG Children's Choral Program. Fittingly, when the MESSIAH was first presented in London in 1743 it too was as a benefit for the newly-opened Foundling Hospital, a home for unwanted children. The HG Treble Choir will present three selections at the beginning of the program. The proceeds help to purchase music and defray expenses for the choir operations. The event is a Pay-What-You-Can event with donations gratefully accepted at the door. Checks can be made payable to HG CHOIRS. No reservations are required.
Comfort ye. Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill made low. Hallelujah!