The sounds of George Frederic Handel’s most famous work, “Messiah,” will fill the Marysville High School auditorium this weekend as the Marshall County Community Choir takes the stage. Four guest soloists and a small chamber orchestra from Kansas State University will join the nearly fifty-member choir to perform selections from this sacred oratorio.
Performances are 7:00 p.m. Saturday, April 12, and 3:00 p.m. Sunday, April 13, in the high school’s auditorium, 1111 Walnut, Marysville. Admission is complimentary.
The performance is sponsored by the Marshall County Arts Cooperative, the Marshall County Community Choir, and Kansas State University’s Division of Choral Music.
Julie Yu, co-director of choral studies at K-State, will conduct the piece.
“This concert features recitatives, arias, duets, and choruses from sections two and three which correspond better with the current time of year than the often performed prophecy and life of Christ sections,” Yu said. “This performance celebrates the spirit of the nineteenth century amateur choral and Handel societies.”
Handel was born in Halle, Germany in 1685. A composer of many genres, both instrumental and vocal, he was passionate about opera, which dominated his early compositional output. The latter part of his life he turned to oratorio. He composed over twenty-five oratorios including his frequently studied and performed “Messiah.”
Judy Scott, a choir member who also serves on the choir’s board of directors, has been advocating for the group to perform this masterpiece. The choir has been working with the arts cooperative to plan for this production for several years.
“As a transplant to the rural heartland, I’ve been overjoyed to watch people here discover that their considerable innate talents and abilities can produce quality fully commensurate with that of trained musicians in the country’s largest cities,” Scott said. “As a minister, I especially am pleased to see these talents and abilities conscripted to bring one of the world’s most meaningful pieces of religious music employing a Biblical libretto to fruition in performance.”
The choir will sing eight selections from the work, and four soloists from Kansas State University will sing other selections.
One of the work’s most famous songs, “I Know That My Redeemer Liveth,” will be performed by Amy Rosine, soprano, an active recitalist and oratorio performer. Known for her clear voice and expressive singing, she has performed in a variety of venues, including the Lyric Theatre of Dallas, Civic Opera of Kansas City, Kansas City Lyric Opera Express and Kansas State Opera.
Rosine is associate professor of music at Kansas State University where she teaches applied voice, vocal techniques, and serves as vocal coach for the K-State Players Broadway musicals. She holds degrees from University of Kansas, University of Missouri-Kansas City, and Truman State University.
Mezzo-soprano Patricia Thompson will sing the first solo in this concert, “He Was Despised.” Thompson is a frequent soloist with the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra, the Bach Societies of Louisville, West Lafayette and St. Louis. She made her Carnegie Hall solo debut in “Messiah.” Thompson is a current member of the Carmel Bach Festival Professional Chorale, Spire Chamber Ensemble of Kansas City and a founding member of the ensemble Luminous Voices of Calgary, Canada. She holds degrees from St. Olaf College and Indiana University, and is an assistant professor of voice at Kansas State University.
Reginald Pittman, professor of music and director of Opera Theatre at Kansas State University, will be the tenor soloist. He directs the fall opera workshop and the fully-staged opera/operetta performance.
Pittman is director of the Flint Hills Masterworks Chorale. He also served as Resident Artist with the Wichita Grand Opera from 2003-2008. He has also performed with the Des Moines, San Diego, Arizona, New Orleans, Shreveport, Dallas and Mississippi Opera Companies and several symphony orchestras.
Brian Sixbury, a senior at Kansas State University majoring in music education, is the bass soloist. Throughout his college career he has been a member of Concert Choir, Collegiate Chorale, Men’s Choir, University Choir, and Collegium Musicum. Sixbury has performed in many locations including Italy, South Carolina, and will perform in New York City in late April.
“After years of preparation and planning, it’s coming together,” Scott said. “It’s rewarding to see singers from all areas of our community work with artists from K-State to make this happen. The result will be powerful and meaningful.”
For more information about the concert people may contact Wayne Kruse, the arts cooperative’s executive director, at 785-713-2077.