Area churches partner again next week to present the annual holiday tradition of performing the Christmas portion of George Frederick Handel’s classic “Messiah.”
Several years ago, David Johnson, director of Trinity Presbyterian Church choir, and Marti Schert, director of First Christian Church choir, wished to revive the tradition of making Handel’s “Messiah” part of local Christmas celebrations. Several decades ago, it wasn’t unusual for several churches to present the “Messiah” during the holidays. Yet, during a period of a couple of decades, the tradition ended, with little to no performances of Handel’s classic.
Initially, First Christian and Trinity Presbyterian revived “Messiah” with partnered concerts before being joined by the Valdosta Symphony Chorus and St. John Catholic Church. In more recent years, Christ Episcopal joined the other churches and singers as part of the Festival Chorus of Valdosta.
The concert presents Part I and portions of Part II of Handel’s “Messiah.”
This concert uses the New Novello Choral Edition of “Messiah” edited by Watkins Shaw. Shaw offers a well-researched version of what he believes has essential variants to the original Handel composition. And his edition also comes after studying Handel’s original manuscripts.
David Johnson said he believes the Novello Edition is “the more authentic edition and differs from other editions like the G. Schirmer.”
The churches are scheduled to present the “Christmas” portion of the composition. Though “Messiah” is often viewed as a seasonal Christmas piece, given the birth of Jesus in the first part, or “first act,” as Handel referred to his compositions’ movements, it may have been intended more as an Easter piece given the drama of the second act.
Handel debuted “Messiah” for an Eastertime/spring audience in April 1742. Yet, it became a favorite for audiences at Christmas through the years.
At one time, the Valdosta churches took turns hosting the performances. For the past several years, St. John’s has hosted the performance.
While there is no admission charged for this public concert, donations will be accepted. This year, these donations benefit the Lowndes County Child Advocacy Center.
Trinity Presbyterian Church, First Christian Church, St. John Catholic Church, Christ Episcopal Church, etc., present “Messiah.”
When: 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1.
Where: St. John Catholic Church, 800 Gornto Road.
Admission: Free and open to the public. Donations accepted to benefit the Lowndes County Children’s