Michigan State University’s College of Music is bringing a beloved holiday tradition to the Wharton Center Cobb Great Hall at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, with a performance of Handel’s Messiah. Two-hundred-twenty choristers and 40 instrumentalists will come together on stage under the direction of Jonathon Reed, professor of music and associate director of choral programs at MSU, for this concert.
The mass choir of students and community members is comprised of MSU Community Music School’s Choral Union and College of Music’s University Chorale and State Singers. MSU Symphony Orchestra will accompany the choir. Four students were selected for their concert solo debuts: Schyler Sheltrown, soprano; Christine Roberts, mezzo-soprano; Isaac Frishman, tenor; and Kyle White, bass-baritone. Reed says that this is a wonderful opportunity for the student soloists because concert solo singing varies greatly from the operatic style. “The vocalists are always so excited to perform with orchestra. There is something uniquely fulfilling and festive about it,” says Reed.
This eighteenth-century oratorio is famous for its Hallelujah Chorus, and will also include three sections based on the prophecy, passion, and rebirth of Jesus as the Messiah. The College of Music production will include the entire first part, and nearly the complete second and third parts. This performance is a nod at a 25-year tradition of an annual “Messiah” concert at the College of Music from 1978-2003.
George Frideric Handel was born in Germany and began his career as a composer working under the patronage of noblemen. He grew restless from the strict orders that limited his creativity and eventually moved to London where he pushed the boundaries of contemporary opera. After some time, Handel grew weary of the extravagant opera productions and turned his attention to oratorios. In 1741, Handel composed the entirety of “Messiah” in the fervor of three or four weeks. Handel was reported to have gone to a performance of his oratorio every year, the last being only eight days before his death. Reed reflects that audiences still connect with the piece that was created so long ago. “It is incredible that this music still receives thousands of performances each year even though it is hundreds of years old.
This concert is sponsored by the MSU Federal Credit Union as part of the MSU Federal Credit Union Showcase Series. Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors (age 60 and older), and $10 for students with ID and anyone under 18, and can be purchased at Wharton Center’s box office, call (517) 432-2000, 1-800-WHARTON, whartoncenter.com, or at the door.
There will be a $3 restoration fee for tickets purchased at Wharton Center, via phone, box office or the website. This is not a College of Music fee.