Community members unite for annual Messiah performance

For the thirteenth year Missouri Southern’s music department is bringing to campus Handel’s Messiah. The concert will be held Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m. in Taylor Auditorium.

The concert is a Christmas tradition and is being hailed as a holiday gift from Southern to the community.

The performance is free and open to the public.

Messiah is probably the most famous works by Handel, and is one of the most popular choral works in the western world.

Included in Messiah is the famous “Hallelujah Chorus.”

“We try to improve it every year,” said Bud Clark, head of the music department and director of choral activities.

The 200-member choral and 40-member orchestra consists of Southern students, Joplin community members and local high school students. Also, four soloists were hired to add a higher level of quality to the production. Rebecca Lloyd, soprano; Paula Brekken, alto; David Adams, tenor; and Ron Witzke, bass; (all from the Kansas City area) were chosen based on recommendations from other groups that have performed Messiah, or on their reputations as vocalists.

Clark said the Messiah production is something that every vocalist or string-player needs to experience.

Rehearsals for the concert have been held every Sunday afternoon in November, and will continue the first two weeks of December.

The most notable problem for vocal participant Kyle Lewis, junior vocal music education major, was simply learning music with such a degree of difficulty.

Lewis has participated in the Messiah choir for the past three years.

“I enjoy working with community members on a project of this size,” Lewis said.