Messiah brings Hallelujah Chorus to local singers, students, faculty

Handel´s Messiah will be performed by a 200-member choir consisting of locals and a 45-piece orchestra. The event is scheduled for Tuesday and is expected to bring a crowd of 1,000 people.

Handel´s Messiah will be performed by a 200-member choir consisting of locals and a 45-piece orchestra. The event is scheduled for Tuesday and is expected to bring a crowd of 1,000 people.

James Marcum

At 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Missouri Southern will once again present Handel’s Messiah as a free gift to the community.

This will mark the eleventh Southern presentation of the Messiah. Bud Clark, director of choral studies, will be in charge of the production.

Clark has been on staff at Southern for 16 years, and in addition to directing he also instructs students studying to be vocal instructors.

Messiah is Southern’s Christmas gift to the community; people look forward to it every year,” Clark said.

The production includes a 200-member choir, a 45-piece orchestra and usually brings a crowd with as many as 1,000 people.

Southern’s concert chorale makes up about 70 of the choir members, which means that over half of the members are from the surrounding community. The orchestra includes some Southern students as well as musicians from the Joplin and Springfield areas.

Messiah requires four lead vocalists who, in the early years of presentation, were members of the community chosen by audition. In recent years, however, the University has brought in professionals from all over the nation to perform as soloists.

“All the professionals that we hire in are always impressed with the level of excellence that they see in the Southern Messiah,” Clark said. “The music in Messiah is not easy music. I’m real proud of our community people and students. They do a real outstanding job. Handel was big into opera. This is the closest thing to opera that you will see from him, only minus the costumes.”

In recent years, the production of Messiah was put on hold after Southern went through some budget cuts. After a private donor offered to subsidize the cost of the production, it was brought back. However, this will be the last year that this donor will be able to help, which means that Southern must look for alternative funding.

Most of the students that perform in Messiah have performed in earlier years. Josh Sharp, junior physical education major, is performing in this year’s Messiah. This will mark his third year.

“Its nice. You get the community together to sing for their friends and family. Also, you’re singing about the Lord, which is what the Christmas season is all about,” Sharp said.

Julie Foster, senior music major, was a soloist in the very first Messiah. She will be performing in the choir this year.

“I love it Messiah because it’s a powerful piece of work,” Foster said. “There is no other Christmas piece that has stood the test of time. The history behind it is really neat too. What better gift to give the community than music?”