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“The Messiah,” by George Frideric Handel (shown in this 1736 painting by Thomas Hudson), has become a highlight of the holiday season. Image courtesy of Brittanica

‘Hallelujah,” It’s Time Once Again for ‘The Messiah’


You don’t have to love choral music or even classical music — or even Christmas — to love G.F. Handel’s “Messiah.” I would count myself as fairly uneducated when it comes to the glories of great music but even for me, “The Messiah” is a delight to listen to. Although much of the storyline (the life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ) is not happy, it is in fact a joyful and uplifting musical experience, especially the famous “Hallelujah” chorus.

I begin singing “The Messiah” right after Thanksgiving — and I’m not the only person who loves to sing along (poorly) to the very complicated oratorio. I don’t know why but there are “Messiah” sing-alongs all over the world.

Traditionally, Berkshire Bach hosts a Messiah sing in Great Barrington, Mass., but COVID-19 seems to have canceled it.

In Kent, Conn., St. Andrew’s Music in the Nave will present “The Messiah” with James Sinclair conducting the Sherman Chamber Ensemble on Friday, Dec. 10, at 8 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Parish at 1 North Main.

Audience members can sing the choral parts. Bring your own score, or borrow one. Admission is $20; book your ticket at https://bit.ly/messiah10 and at the door. Student admission is free.

For more information, call 860-927-3486, email st.andrew.kent@snet.net, or go to www.standrewskentct.org/mitn.html.

In Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., about a 40-minute drive from Salisbury, Conn., Leon Bottstein will lead a non-sing-along “Messiah” performed by The Orchestra Now, soloists from the Bard Conservatory Graduate Vocal Arts Program, the Bard Festival Chorale and the Bard College Chamber Singers.

That concert will be on Saturday, Dec. 11, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 12, at 2 p.m. You can attend in person (and not sing) or take part virtually (in which case, go ahead and sing along!).

Performances are in the Fisher Center’s Sosnoff Theater on the Bard College campus. Tickets start at $30 for in-person; it is “pay what you wish” for the virtual livestream. To purchase or reserve tickets, go to www.fishercenter.bard.edu, call 845-758-7900 (Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.), or email boxoffice@bard.edu.

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