Music Preview: Good Tidings for ‘Messiah’ Fans this Holiday Season

mcbchorusFew classical works have received as many disparate interpretations as Handel’s Messiah. Over the years, this seasonal favorite has been performed by huge symphonic choirs and small period ensembles, by gospel groups in church sanctuaries and sing-along choruses in church basements. A true masterpiece, Messiah will always sound great, provided it’s performed with requisite joy.

This holiday season, Nashville classical fans will have their choice of Messiahs. For the first time in two years, Music City Baroque will perform its popular Messiah. Music City Baroque is Nashville’s premier period-instrument group, but its Messiah is a strictly come-as-you-are affair. The audience is invited to sit according to voice type and join the ensemble and soloists in a sing-along Messiah.

Dr. Brian Russell, choral director at Stewart Creek High School, will conduct Music City Baroque’s performance. Soloists will include soprano Megan Farmer, alto Mareike Sattler, tenor Derek Meler and bass Grant Farmer. The concert will open other orchestral works by Handel, including the Overture to Solomon and the Chaconne from Il Pastor Fido.

Music City Baroque’s Messiah is 7:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 2 at Christ Church Cathedral, 900 Broadway. The performance is part of the cathedral’s Sacred Space for the City Arts Series. Advance tickets are $13.50 for adults and $5.00 for students and are available here. Individual tickets at the door will be $15.00 for adults and $5.00 for students.

This season marks the 50th anniversary of the Nashville Symphony Chorus, so naturally the chorus will perform Messiah on three consecutive nights with the Nashville Symphony at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Matthew Halls will conduct the Nashville Symphony, chorus and a strong roster of soloists – soprano Lei Xu, mezzo-soprano Hyona Kim, tenor Andrew Stenson and bass Jeongcheol Cha. Nashville Symphony Orchestra and Chorus performances of Messiah are 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11 and Thursday, Dec. 12 and 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13. Tickets are available here.

Even more Handelian good tidings are in store for Middle Tennessee classical fans. Middle Tennessee State University will perform Messiah at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 2 and Tuesday, Dec. 3 at the Wright Music Building on the MTSU campus.

Trevecca Nazarene University will also present a “December Hallelujah.”  The first half of the concert will consist of songs of the season presented by various ensembles from Trevecca and the second half of a sing along of the Christmas portion of the Messiah. A December Hallelujah will be at War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville, TN on Sunday, Dec. 8 at 5:00 p.m. Tickets are $5 and are available here.

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About John Pitcher

John Pitcher is the chief classical music, jazz and dance critic as well as co-founder of ArtsNash. He has been a classical music critic for the Washington Post, the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle, National Public Radio’s Performance Today (NPR), ArtNowNashville.com and the Nashville Scene. His writings about music and the arts have also appeared in Symphony Magazine, American Record Guide and Stagebill Magazine, among other publications. Pitcher earned his master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where he studied arts writing with Judith Crist and Phyllis Garland. His work has received the New York State Associated Press award for outstanding classical music criticism.