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Messiah Sing-a-Longs (and you don't really have to sing)
I went to my first Handel's Messiah Sing-a-Long Friday night. This one was a joint effort between the ProMusica Orchestra in Columbus, Ohio and area orchestras and choirs--plus their conductors who took turns conducting various segments. As soon as I took my place in the soprano section, it was obvious I wasn't prepared for such an event. All around me people had score books with the music and the lyrics. I had just the program that was handed to me at the door. Oh. That's what a sing-a-long means. I expected that there would be a choir that I would listen to and the audience would pipe in from time to time. Not so. Not in this case.
The audience was the chorus, meaning the main event. Like a true chorus, we were directed to sit in sections according to our voice range. And, although I was dressed fairly nicely, I wasn't in the same league as the women around me, particularly the one in front of me with the spectacular dress and a voice to match. Think sequins and tulle, but stylish, like something Beverly Sills would wear. I briefly wondered if the wrinkles in my pants had shaken out by now.
But, being that I'm game for about anything, I stood on cue and followed the conductor's stick, thankful that I've heard the Messiah more than once, and thankful for my high school choir days. I may not have had the score in front of me, but I could fudge a bit. Truly, this was a blast, but next year, I'm bringing the score, and if I don't have one, I'm looking for that woman in the sequins. She was awesome. Listening to her helped me find the range and follow along--even though my voice could be described as "thin" and often off key. But, hey, I paid honest money for the price of the ticket, and that means, I'll sing if I want to. You don't have to sing though, several people, like my mother, just sat and listened.
If you're looking for a special holiday event, find a sing-a-long Messiah. From what I've found out since last night, these are increasingly popular. I found several that have already happened this year. Here are some Sing-A-Long Messiah's still happening.
- National Chorale, Avery Fischer Hall, New York City: Dec. 16
- Downtown Symphony, New York City: Dec. 16
- Scottsdale Symphony Orchestra, Scottsdale, Arizona: Dec. 18 (this link goes to an article and an audio of the event that explains what this is about and has interviews.)
- L.A. Master Corale, Los Angeles, California: Dec. 18
- Wienberg Center for the Arts, Frederick, Maryland: Dec. 19
- Boulder Messiah Chorale, Boulder, Colorado: Dec. 22-23
- Arlington, Vermont, St. James Church (free): Dec. 30
Here's a link to "How to Sing Handel's Messiah" If I had only known.