4th & Lead SW--Some wait for Santa this time of year. Others wait for the Messiah...Handel’s Messiah, that is. And this weekend four different choirs join together under the direction of John Clark to perform it.
This is a huge production: 168 voices backed up by members of the NM Symphony Orchestra and the Albuquerque Philharmonic. Two high school groups are part of this. One is the 56 member concert choir from Rio Rancho High School. The other is the Eldorado H.S. concert choir with its 40 singers. The Chancel Choir from 1st United Methodist Church and the Westside Community Chorale round out the performers.
What an array of different ages! And what enthusiasm for the work! Tuesday night I got a chance to attend a rehearsal. I thought I would just drop by for a few minutes, but I stayed for an hour and a half. And left singing.
The oratorio has been called an athletic event, for it is that strenuous. And John Clark, professor emeritus at UNM’s Music Dept., directs the choir with energy and vision. He exudes not only a commitment to the music, but deep in his heart to the message as well. What’s more, his instructions to the choir were clear and full of humor. Remember, some of these singers are still in high school.
I was told that the Messiah has not been performed on this scale for decades...maybe 30 years. The concert, which is only this Saturday and Sunday, will consist of Part I with highlights (including the Hallelujah Chorus) from Parts II & III.
According to the Wikipedia article, Handel’s assistant once walked into Handel’s room and found the composer in tears. When asked what was wrong, Handel held up the score to the Hallelujah Chorus and said, “I have seen the face of God.”
The cost of the performance is $12. But remember, 168 voices...professional orchestral accompaniment. Not only that, there is a lot of great music that may not come around again for another three decades.
The church holds 600 people and 400 tickets have already been sold for each performance. Call 243-5646 for tickets.
First United Methodist Church
314 Lead Ave. SW
Saturday, Dec. 1 @ 7:00
Sunday, Dec. 2 @ 2:00