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December 19, 2009

I went to see a presentation of Handel’s Messiah tonight.  I had gone last year and was so moved that I wanted to go again this year.  I love music and Christmas and worship of the Savior.  The only thing that is a bummer about going to a formal presentation like this is that it doesn’t feel very appropriate to express my worship how I would like.  The music and words are so powerful that several times I wanted to raise my hands, or fall on my face, or dance.  I saw some judgmental looks, though, when a cell phone went off during the pause right before the Hallelujah chorus (and, yes, I admit I was surprised by the cell phone too and joined in with some of the “looks”!)  🙂   So, when the Hallelujah chorus started and I wanted to raise my hands I didn’t really want to have any of those “looks” directed my way!  We were in a church so, on the one hand, it seemed like I should feel free to worship as I would at church.  But I was in a church building I had never been in before, surrounded by strangers that were there to see an opera, not necessarily to worship the Messiah (although I’m sure many were there to worship, but they were doing it in a more formal way).  So, even though I restrained myself tonight (for fear of being despised like David), it was kind of fun to imagine how others might react if I shook up the stoic setting a bit.

During and after the concert I was thinking about the impact that Handel has had on so many people by creating this magnificent oratorio that sings the words of the gospel, blending Old Testament prophecies and New Testament promises in such a powerful way, appealing to the mind and heart.  Over 268 years after it was written, his musical masterpiece continues to be one of the most popular works in Western choral literature (according to the ever-trusty Wikipedia).

The alto soloist for tonight’s performance was a BYU grad.  She had a lovely voice.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 20, 2009 1:16 am

    You should drop in on a Messiah sing-along concert sometime.

    I know Provo holds one in the tabernacle each December. Other cities have them too.

  2. December 20, 2009 1:26 am

    What is a Messiah sing-along? Is that where you get to sing along???!! That’s what I’m talking about!!! 🙂

  3. Stephanie permalink
    December 20, 2009 1:32 am

    Just don’t sing the bass part, Jessica. That will get you funny looks.

  4. December 20, 2009 2:54 am

    Yeah, they give everyone in the audience the words and you get to sing along with the choir and orchestra. Sometimes it’s just for select numbers, usually the Hallelujah Chorus.

    Back when I was in law school in Laramie Wyoming, our Stake President collaborated with some local Protestant ministers and put together an interfaith choir and orchestra. We had a large choir that me and my wife were in. We also managed to scrape together something of a small chamber orchestra.

    We did at least half the numbers from the entire Messiah. And we even ended on “Worthy is the Lamb.” Talk about a hard number! We had soloists too.

    We held the concert in the LDS Stake Center (can’t argue with seating capacity) and had a local Protestant minister give the opening prayer. He looked pretty cool in his colored, tie-dyed pastoral robes.

    I don’t know if we sounded all that professional or not, but we sure gave it our all and got a standing ovation – for whatever that’s worth.

    Lots of fun.

  5. faithoffathers permalink
    December 20, 2009 11:11 pm

    My absolute favorite rendition of the Messiah was on my mission in a small ward in Northern Texas. The choir director was a single mother of 4 kids and had many struggles in life. She worked hard with the meager choir she had- probably less than 20.

    When they delivered their performance on Christmas Sunday, I openly wept. It was so beautiful. Maybe it was so great to me because I was familiar with the difficulties with which those people wrestled, and I knew how much they loved the Savior. I will never forget it.


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