RiverChor and Gateway Area Singers present Clinton’s annual performance of “Messiah” on Sunday, December 17 at 2:00pm at Zion Lutheran Church, 439 3rd Ave S in Clinton. Celebrating 92 years of tradition, the group will be performing much of Handel’s famous oratorio with orchestra and many local soloists. Admission is free, offerings are welcome and appreciated.
Rev. Frederick Schoenbohn with a group of singers called the Apollo Choral Society first began the annual tradition in 1931. Over the years, community singers have been directed by Jim Winn, John DeHaan, Dorothy Rathje, Mark Kapusinski, and Rob Engelson. In his third year at the baton is Karl Wolf, recently retired choir director of Clinton High School. Christine Holmer serves as pianist, and Julie Marston heads up the orchestra.
At the tender age of 11, George Frideric Handel’s prodigious organ playing skills caught the ear of a nobleman, which changed the trajectory of his life from becoming a law student to being lauded by the likes of Mozart and Beethoven as the “greatest composer who ever lived”. Handel began his career with operas, but turning his hand to religious oratorios allowed him greater musical freedom.
“Messiah” was written over an astounding period of only three to four weeks, and debuted to a record crowd of 700 people in 1742. The work is in three parts: the first detailing the prophesied birth of Jesus Christ; the second exalts His sacrifice for humankind; and the final section heralds His resurrection. Throughout his music, Handel focuses on the human response to the divine, perhaps why this work has continued to be so popular as it is performed by groups across the world for Christmas and Easter.
“Our singers from across the Gateway Area have been hard at work since October to brush up on movements that are familiar, and those we only perform in this year 3 of our cycle”, explains RiverChor manager Brooke Logan. “We invite you to step away from the busyness of the season to enjoy this truly special experience this Sunday afternoon.”