Granby Mountain Messiah: A musical ‘happening’ |

Granby Mountain Messiah: A musical ‘happening’

by Cyndi McCoy
Granby, Colorado

The music of George Frederic Handel continues to be a community favorite and is the main highlight of the 11th annual Mountain Messiah sing-along.

Grand County is invited to sing or to just listen. Opportunities are available for talented volunteers to sing solos or direct any of nine songs scheduled for the program.

Songs include “And the Glory of the Lord,” “O Thou Who Tellest,” “For Unto Us a Child is Born,” “Glory to God,” “Behold the Lamb of God,” “And with His Stripes,” “Lift Up Your Heads,” “Hallelujah Chorus” (sung twice) and “Worthy is the Lamb and the Amen.”

The event was coordinated by Joan and Roger Shaw, who moved to the Fraser Valley 14 years ago. As avid music lovers, among their belongings were two boxes of the Messiah score. Joan said that first year of Mountain Messiah 11 years ago she got some people together to sing and she has been “delighted” the audience of 80 has now grown to about 250. “It just happened,” she said. “That’s how it all started and I hope it continues.”

It’s meant to be a mountain-style event, down home “like Northern Exposure,” she said. People can come in their trucks wearing their jeans to join in at the little wooden chapel. “We just sit and sing.”

“It’s a joy to have the community involved,” Joan said.

Among the audience have been some wonderful opera singers, she said. Gene Ackley gets as close to his long-time fantasy of conducting a symphony orchestra by directing the mountain-style chorus. One of Joan’s favorite stories about who can be found in the audience includes a seeing-eye dog in 2006 who was finishing up his training to bring those that need assistance to classical music performances. Joan said he even stood up for the final “Hallelujah.”

This year’s sing-along highlights eight music students from music teachers Ella Knight and LaVon Cooper. One of them up for his first performance is 8-year-old trumpet player Tristan Schwab.

“It’s a nice opportunity for them to play for the public without being center stage,” Joan said.

No rehearsals are necessary for the informal song session. Music and piano accompaniment may be provided or participants may invite their own accompaniment to come along, as long as the organizers know ahead of time.

Music is to be provided preceding the evening event (at 6:30 p.m.) or people may pick up copies from the Fraser Valley Library. Those who have music are encouraged to bring it along.

Children are especially welcome and several youth are set to play a prelude, starting at 6:30 p.m. Those who would like to are encouraged to practice the “Hallelujah” part at home so that they may add their voices to the evening performance.

Following the event, there will be a time for community fellowship and refreshments, including all those leftover holiday cookies people are encouraged to bring from home.

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