Out & About: In-person ‘Messiah’ sing returns in Lebanon

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    People gather at the First Congregational Church in Lebanon as part of the Upper Valley Music Center's "Handel’s Messiah: Aria Recital & Hallelujah Sing" in 2019. The annual event will take place in person this year, with myriad COVID-19 protection measures in place. (Upper Valley Music Center photograph) Upper Valley Music Center photograph

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 12/16/2021 8:09:38 AM
Modified: 12/16/2021 8:09:04 AM

LEBANON — A popular holiday concert will return in-person this Sunday, with a twist for the finale, when community members and music students will join together to sing the Hallelujah Chorus outside the First Congregational Church of Lebanon.

It’s part of the Upper Valley Music Center’s “Handel’s Messiah: Aria Recital & Hallelujah Sing,” which will take place from 2 to 3 p.m. and costs $15 to attend. Proof of vaccination and masks are required. Tickets can be purchased at uvmusic.org/event/handels-messiah-aria-recital-hallelujah-sing.

The music center has been doing a version of the Messiah Sing since 2014. Last year, the event took place over Zoom. Four soloists performed remotely while around 100 audience members could sing from their homes while muted. This year, the event is back at the church and will feature a string quartet, harpsichordist and 10 soloists who are students at the music center.

“These are students who perform probably quite a bit already in musicals and other solo things but this is the one opportunity they have to perform with string players, collaborating with them on their arias,” said Jennifer Hansen, Upper Valley Music Center voice coordinator/voice faculty member. “It’s a special opportunity for them that way and it’s much more of a challenge than performing with piano only.”

From 2009 to 2013, Hansen presented a Messiah sing at area churches.

“ ‘Handel’s Messiah Sings’ are popular because many choral singers have learned many of the choruses and even though Messiah is an advanced choral work, choral singers are therefore able to just show up and sing without rehearsal,” Hansen wrote in a follow-up email.

The Messiah sign is one of the music center’s most popular annual events, and this year attendees will be able to listen to the performers in person.

“We kind of checked the boxes: the students get a chance to perform with (the quartet), the audience gets a chance to hear and support them and then everyone gets a chance to sing one chorus,” Hansen said.

Due to the pandemic, organizers do not feel it is safe for the audience to sing indoors. When the musicians are done performing inside the church, everyone will go outside to sing the iconic chorus along with a piano accompanist.

“Many folks are just delighted they’re going to be able to sing at all in the crowd,” Hansen said.

Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com or 603-727-3221.

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