Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Handel's Messiah

The holiday events are coming fast and furiously now, and my husband and I are trying to hit as many as we can. One of our favorites is the annual performance of Handel’s Messiah by the Fredericksburg Community Chorus. Held in the Fredericksburg Baptist Church on the first weekend in December, the 80-member chorus (give or take a few from year to year) performs only this one concert all year (two performances), but they do a masterful job. I’m always so impressed and moved by this performance, which comes together after only five rehearsals. I’ve heard it so many times, I know whole sections by heart. My daughter sang with the group for two years when she was a high schooler, and hearing her sing this amazing oratorio was one of my proudest moments as a mom. Now I’d love to get my husband to try it, but so far, he’s been immune to my “encouragement” (I’m not musical, and yes, it’s true, I have to live vicariously through family members.) If you’ve never been to this concert, plan to go next year. A beautiful church with great acoustics, a talented chorus with strong soloists, a terrific chamber ensemble, and my favorite trumpeter (Andy Schuller from the Marine Band). Plus the singers represent over 20 area churches, so you just might see someone you know singing in the choir.

Just an aside: there’s a lot of praying at this performance. You pray before the concert (Lord, help us make beautiful music to honor you), you pray at intermission when they pass the plate (Lord, guide us to make a generous contribution in your name, except make the checks payable to FCC), and you pray at the end of the concert (Lord, thank you for this wonderful night of music, now get us all home safely). Frankly, doesn’t this seem like a few too many demands on the Lord? How about, “Lord, these musicians have worked really hard, and they’ve got it under control. So we’re good to go. Catch you later.”

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