Rehearsals underway for Handel’s Messiah
by Ron Harris
Nov 05, 2013 | 1379 views | 0 0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
More than 60 people from various churches throughout Walker County have worked since September rehearsing for this year’s presentation of Handel’s Messiah, which is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m. at Jasper’s First Baptist Church. Admission is free. Daily Mountain Eagle - Ron Harris
More than 60 people from various churches throughout Walker County have worked since September rehearsing for this year’s presentation of Handel’s Messiah, which is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m. at Jasper’s First Baptist Church. Admission is free. Daily Mountain Eagle - Ron Harris
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More than 60 people from churches throughout Walker County came together in September to begin rehearsing for this year’s presentation of Handel’s Messiah.

Now in its 32nd year, this year’s performance by the Walker County Christian Chorus is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 2, at Jasper’s First Baptist Church. Admission is free.

Dr. John Stallsmith will direct this year’s performance that will include a 29-piece orchestra to accompany the more than 60 local singers. Four to five local musicians will participate in the orchestra.

Hilda Ray and Carolyn Smith are veterans in the performance, each having participated for most of the 31 previous presentations.

Both said there’s no hesitation in participating each year.

“This is part of our soul,” Ray said. “You cannot read Isaiah (in the Bible) without hearing the music in your head.”

“It’s a wonderful experience,” Smith said. “It’s a spiritual blessing, as well as a musical enrichment. Every year you do it, it gets better. It just comes naturally.”

Ray said the range of performers — some as young as 13 and 14 and others who are retired — makes the performance each year more enticing.

“The college students and high school students are coming in now and participating and they are just enriching it so much,” she said. “Their voices are strong and good and they read the music well and it adds so much.”

Both Ray and Smith said they look forward to participating each year.

Jack Baldwin is in his 17th year as a member of the Walker County Christian Chorus, and he said the experience gets better each year.

“The challenge of the music is fantastic,” Baldwin said, “but it’s also the message it sends and being around so many wonderful people from all sorts of churches from across the county.

“We all come together for that one night, and by the end of the night I’m in tears.”