Public invited to singalong for one of the nation’s highest renditions of Handel’s ‘Messiah’ |

Public invited to singalong for one of the nation’s highest renditions of Handel’s ‘Messiah’

Students perform at the Mountain Messiah in 2018.
Lori Oury/Courtesy Photo

A local group of talented musicians will present the 24th annual Mountain Messiah Sing-A-Long on Sunday, Dec. 18, at Snow Mountain Ranch YMCA Chapel. This free holiday event, featuring Handel’s “Messiah,” is open to the public. It begins at 6 p.m. with a performance by music students, then will be followed by a singalong of Messiah choruses at 6:30 p.m.

Both vocal and instrumental performers will entertain the chapel crowd. Scores are available for this informal community event.

“You can come to sing-along, no rehearsal, or just come to listen,” said Lori Oury, Mountain Messiah organizer. “Every year is a little different.”

Oury said that the “Messiah” musicians wear many hats and sing different harmonies, depending on who is available. Oury organizes the event alongside Jeff Shaw, Karen Harris and Montana Cramer. Oury, Shaw and Harris will be conducting, as well as performing solos. Cramer will lead a small orchestra. Other soloists include: Marion Bricker (who will also conduct), Maggie McEnerny and Peter Maki. Piano accompanists are Linda Brumagin, Diana Fahenholtz and Jan Sears. 

The show is conducted at an elevation of 8,858 feet and known unofficially as the nation’s “highest Handel’s ‘Messiah,’” (though they have been out-elevated in the past by Leadville). The event began in 1997 after Fraser musician, educator and music therapist Joan Shaw received a box of Messiah musical scores and decided to put them to good use. Joan and her husband Roger Shaw, a physicist and musician, served on the Grand Concerts board and taught music in area schools for many years. They have since died.

A classic work by 18th century composer George Frideric Handel, “Messiah” is a Baroque oratorio, culminating with the “Hallelujah” chorus that traditionally brings everyone to their feet. Intended to be sung in concert, “Messiah” carries both religious and universal themes. The score tells the story of Jesus, with French, English, Italian and German musical influences. Handel wrote the entire score in a fit of creativity, completing it in only 24 days — extremely fast for such a complicated composition.

First performed in 1742 in Dublin, Ireland, his masterpiece remains one of the most frequently performed choral works in Western music and his most popular work.

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