A joyful sound

‘Messiah’ performance set for Dec. 4

From staff reports
Posted 11/24/17

One of Walker County’s most popular Christmas traditions will return on Dec. 4 when the Walker County Christian Chorus presents Handel’s “Messiah.”

“The concert is free to the public — our Christmas gift to our community,” said Debbie Olive, administrative coordinator of the Walker County Arts Alliance and a member of the chorus.

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A joyful sound

‘Messiah’ performance set for Dec. 4

Posted

One of Walker County’s most popular Christmas traditions will return on Dec. 4 when the Walker County Christian Chorus presents Handel’s “Messiah.”

“The concert is free to the public — our Christmas gift to our community,” said Debbie Olive, administrative coordinator of the Walker County Arts Alliance and a member of the chorus.

Dr. John Stallsmith will direct the chorus, now in its 35th year. The Alabama Symphony Orchestra will also participate in the performance, which will begin at 7 p.m. at Jasper's First Baptist Church. Childcare will be provided.

Rehearsals for the “Messiah” began in September. This year, approximately 70 singers from around Walker County practiced two hours each Monday night.

George Frideric Handel composed the “Messiah” in 24 days, using 53 sections and three parts. The three parts represent Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection. Each part breaks down into a series of arias and choruses, with a Biblical passage as their basis.

Handel first conducted the piece during a charity concert at Dublin, Ireland in 1742.

The tradition of standing during the “Hallelujah” chorus is believed to have originated when King George II stood during the performance of this section in London in 1743.

Due to the length of Handel’s Messiah, local performers rotate the choruses every year over the course of three years. The exception is the Christmas choruses, which are performed each year.