Granby: Singing ‘Messiah’ on high
December 21, 2007
Singers will literally lift their voices on high, as the songs of George Frederic Handels’ “Messiah” are sung in what is believed to be the highest elevation performance in the United States, at 8,550 feet.
The Tenth Annual Mountain Messiah Song Session is set for Thursday at the Snow Mountain Ranch, YMCA of the Rockies chapel.
Joan Shaw, pianist for The Uprights, said she came up with the idea a decade ago after she bought a box set of “Messiah” music at a garage sale in St. Louis, Mo.
“I moved it all up to the mountains with no plan in mind and now I celebrate 10 years of joyful singing with mountain folk who sing from the heart,” he said.
The session is more like a get-together rather than a concert, she explained, with volunteers and guests putting on the show. Professional opera singer Karen Hendricks-Crawford of Phoenix, Ariz. joins participants for the performance. (Hendricks-Crawford is the daughter of John and Dorothy Hendricks of Fraser.) Other volunteers are mostly locals representing musical talents, like Shaw.
The event begins at 6:30 p.m. with local piano students to start off the program, with the popular song session at 7 p.m. The local piano students are organized by Ella Knight (also of The Uprights) and local piano teacher LaVon Cooper. Judy Shetler (on piano), Alpine Classic Trio 3, and Becky (flute), Joan (viola) and Roger Shaw (cello) follow with an overture.
Reverend Spencer Carr, a tenor, and The Uprights’ Jan Sears perform next for the first solo of the evening with “Comfort Ye.” After that, Carolyn May conducts and Sears plays piano for a chorus to sing “And the Glory,” Jim Griffiths and Joan Shaw perform “Every Valley,” Cameron Hanses and Traci Maddox help perform “Behold,” Lori Oury sings “O Thou Who Tellest” with Traci Maddox (of the Uprights) on piano, followed by Oury as conductor and Maddox on piano for more “O Thou Who Tellest,” and Marion Bricker (bass) Kathy Turnbull (Uprights, piano) perform “For Behold,” local East Grand Schools band and choir director Eric Simondson leads “For Unto Us” with Sears on piano and “He Shall Feed” with soprano Kris Boy, alto Elizabeth Woods, and Maddox on piano; a solo recitative by Oury, Patti Applebee conducting “Glory to God,” and “Rejoice” sung by Hendricks-Crawford.
After intermission, two rousing chorus renditions of “Hallelujah” round out the program.
Music is available to all the participants at a first-come, first-served basis and is also available for loan at the Fraser Valley Library.
Following the free concert, everyone is invited to a room downstairs to sing and enjoy refreshments and performances by several quartets. Anyone wishing to provide music for the “Afterglow” party or to make a debut is free to join in the merriment.
Singers will be seated in a vocal section appropriate to their voice range and non-singers are welcome to listen on the perimeter of the mountain chapel.
Handel is recognized in England and by many in Germany as the greatest composer of his day. In the true meaning of the annual performance, “Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill made low: the crooked straight, and the rough places plain.” – Isaiah 40:4.