Vesper Choir Performance with AR Choral Society to feature guest soloists

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Arkansas Choral Society, joined by the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) Vesper Choir and members of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, will give its annual performance of George Frederic Handel’s oratorio “Messiah” (the Christmas portion plus choruses and solos from Parts II and III) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, November 29 at First Pentecostal Church, 1401 Calvary Drive (off Interstate 40) in North Little Rock.

Bray Wilkins will be the guest tenor soloist with other soloists from the chorus and other local singers. Kent Skinner, Director of Choral Activities at the University of Arkansas at Monticello and music director of the Choral Society, will conduct the performance.

From the Christmas section, audiences will experience the revelation to the shepherds and familiar choruses (including “And the Glory of the Lord,” “For Unto Us a Child is Born” and “Glory to God”), and, of course, the “Hallelujah” chorus that closes Part II, plus less familiar sections (the chorus “He Trusted in God (That He Would Deliver Him).”

The work concludes with the chorus “Worthy is the Lamb,” followed by the massive double-fugue “Amen.”

The Arkansas Choral Society has performed all or part of Handel’s “Messiah” every year since 1930. The society, made up of amateur singers primarily from central Arkansas, performs twice a year and regularly pairs with college and high school choruses and awards scholarships to young choral singers.

Tickets are $15, $10 for students. Call (501) 376-8484 or visit www.lovetosing.org. Support for this performance comes from a generous grant from the Arkansas Arts Council.

About Handel’s “Messiah

Though the piece was written for and first performed during the Easter season (its 1742 debut came, not in London, but in Dublin, Ireland), it has become more of a Christmas tradition in English-speaking countries. Handel (1685-1759) composed it in only 24 days, leaning heavily on some of his previous compositions for musical material. The libretto by his frequent opera and oratorio collaborator, Charles Jennens, is divided into three parts, representing the coming, crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. The texts come from the Old and New testaments of the King James Bible, including the prophecies of the coming of the Messiah from the book of Isaiah, plus scriptures from Matthew, Luke, John, Hebrews, First Corinthians and Revelations.

Details: call (501) 376-8484.

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