Monday, December 7, 2009

The Messiah

I'm not sure when I first encountered Handel's Messiah. I didn't grow up in a house where we listened to this kind of music. Clearly, at some point it entered into my consciousness. For a number of years, listening to it during both Advent and Holy Week has become a part of my spiritual practice.

Sunday night, for the first time, I saw it live. I invited myself along on Margaret's excursion to the Concord Community Chorus's free performance at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Concord (this was the 79th annual performance). The concert was to begin at 7. We met for supper at 5, and then stood in a line (where, amazingly, we were numbers 2 and 3) to get in. It was chilly in Concord; my puffy jacket kept me warm, but a hat would have been a smart addition to the ensemble.

We saw a number of folks Margaret knew. I met some NH Episcopalians I hadn't met before. The concert got off to a late start because a soloist was late, so we had extra chatting time. Our seatmates were a lovely older couple. The woman, age 75, grew up as a member of St. Paul's and told me a bit about the church of her youth while we waited.

The music, when it began, was top notch. Three cheers for the Concord Community Chorus and the wonderful soloists.

Those who know me well know that I don't always have great musical memory. Because I am so familiar with the Messiah, hearing and seeing it live was a totally different experience for me. Repeatedly, I was transported by the music. Sometimes I forgot to breathe. At others, I was near tears, because the music was so beautiful. By the end of the night, my facial muscles hurt, because I'd been smiling so much.

Here's Margaret's video of the Hallelujah Chorus.

1 comment:

Theodoric said...

Very fun. I'm not a singer, but I know they flock to open Messiah "sings", where the audience is the chorus. This also happens at Easter, since the Messiah is more of a Resurrection piece than a Christmas song.

Now, look for a performance of Carmina Burana by Orff!