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“Oh Come, Oh Come . . . .” and sing with the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra and Chorus to welcome the holiday season. One of the glorious holiday favorites, Handel’s Messiah, will once again be performed on Thursday, December 15 and Friday, December 16 at St. Francis Xavier Church in Petoskey at 7:00 p.m. Performances of Handel’s majestic music have now become a holiday tradition in the area and tickets will be going fast.
In addition to Messiah, the Orchestra and Chorus will perform the moving and beautiful Oratorio de Noël, often called the Christmas Oratorio by Camille Saint Saëns. Several acclaimed soloists, including soprano Risa Renee Harmon, mezzo-soprano Jamie Beth Platte, alto Martha Hart, baritone Jason Coffey and tenor Tom Cilluffo will join the Chorus in performing both pieces.
“Who doesn’t love singing Messiah,” says soprano Risa Renee Harmon. “The moment the first strains are heard, one is instantly transported to the holiday season.” She adds, “It’s exciting being introduced to a new holiday work, Saint Saëns’ Oratorio de Noël. . . . it’s gorgeous!”
Joining the Chorus this year as a vocalist is Anne McDevitt, Executive Director of the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra and Chorus. Looking forward to the event, Anne says, “It will be a pleasure to be both a performer and an organizer of this year’s performance of Messiah. This annual event allows the community to come together at a hectic time of year and slow down and reflect on the season as they listen to the glorious music.”
Peter Sims, Chorus Master, will be celebrating his last Messiah performance at St. Francis Church, a setting he has described as “inspirational, with acoustics that are very alive.” Sims came “North” in 2002 and has been involved in the Messiah performance every year since then as a soloist and in the past few years, as Chorus Master. This year, eighteen members of the Chorus, joined singers from all over the world to perform Messiah at Carnegie Hall in New York, a real tribute to the talent of the Great Lakes Chamber Chorus.
Messiah is very important to Jason Coffee, baritone, who says, “It was the first major work I ever performed 15 years ago. It always means the holidays to me, whether as a soloist, in the chorus or even just listening at home, it’s a part of my holiday traditions . . . so I am happy to be performing it this season with the GLCO.”
Handel’s Messiah and Saint Saëns’ Oratorio de Noël will make a very memorable evening and will fill the holiday season with uplifting beauty and joyful music. Libor Ondras, Music Director of the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra, agrees and adds that he chose the San Saëns piece to complement the Messiah for a number of reasons. “Handel was a very influential composer for Saint Saëns and inspired him to create music. Saint Saëns wrote the piece in a way as an homage to Handel. The Oratorio de Noël is similar to Handel’s Messiah, yet different in that it is more intimate, more like chamber music.” Both pieces enhance the tradition of coming together for the holidays in music and song.
Tickets are available at Boyne, Charlevoix, Harbor Springs, and Petoskey Chambers, the Orchestra office at 231.487.0010 or www.glcorchestra.org. General admission is $25, reserved seats are $35, $50 and $75.
The Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra produces live orchestral performances that provide entertainment, education and inspiration for Northern Michigan. Support for the orchestra is provided by the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Petoskey- Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation, the Charlevoix County Community Foundation, the Frey Foundation and hundreds of individual patrons of the arts. For more information about the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra, go to www.glcorchestra.org.