Handel’s ‘Messiah’ Nov. 26-27

The 120-voice (city-wide chorus) Rockford Choral Union will present George Frederick Handel’s “Messiah”—accompanied by a full orchestra and four noted soloists at 7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 25 and 3 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 26 at Trinity Lutheran Church, 200 N. First St. Free tickets are available at: Borders, Lemstone Christian Books, Trinity Lutheran Church and Vineyard Books at Highcrest. Free-will offerings will be taken.

Started in Rockford in 1945, this is the 61st consecutive year of the presentation of Handel’s “Messiah” in Rockford on Thanksgiving weekend. This is the 265th anniversary year of Handel’s “Messiah” being performed somewhere in the world. The tradition in Rockford began in1945 to boost morale during the war.

One singer, Elsie Lundvall, has sung in every single Rockford concert—including 1945 onward—without absence. Thankfully, she will be singing again this year.

The conductor will be Nat Bauer. Soloists this year are soprano Jody Brubaker, from the music faculty of Highland College; mezzo-soprano Jori Johnson Jennings, from the voice faculty of Moody Bible Institute and a soloist at Carnegie Hall; tenor Mark James Meier, a soloist with major symphony orchestras through the United States; and bass Todd Payne, assistant professor of voice from the music staff at Southwest Missouri State University.

It costs approximately $15,000 a year to bring this treasure to the Rockford-area audience. Donations are welcome. For information, call 397-4601.

The Rockford Dance Company and the Rockford Symphony Orchestra will be presenting Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker with professional dancers from Ballet Florida. The sets and costumes will take you to a magical wonderland. Performances will be at the Coronado Theatre, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Nov. 25. Call for tickets at 965-0049.

Anne E. O’Keefe is executive director of the Rockford Area Arts Council.

From the Nov. 22-28, 2006, issue

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