Michigan State University’s College of Music will stream a rebroadcast of a beloved holiday tradition with a performance of Handel’s "Messiah." The rebroadcast features 220 choristers and 40 instrumentalists in a powerful 2015 performance at the MSU Wharton Center Cobb Great Hall under the direction of David Rayl, professor of music and director of choral programs at MSU.
The special free rebroadcast will also feature interviews by Rayl with tenor Isaac Frishman and Choral Union members Bob and Sylvia Stevens. The full concert with video will premiere at 3 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 20 on the MSU College of Music Livestream Channel. Radio listeners may tune in to the audio broadcast on 90.5 WKAR FM’s “MSU in Concert” program at 7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 11.
The choir is made up of students and community members from the MSU Community Music School’s Choral Union and the College of Music’s University Chorale and State Singers. The MSU Symphony Orchestra accompanies the choir. In this performance, four student soloists will be heard: Schyler Sheltrown, soprano; Christine Roberts, mezzo-soprano; Isaac Frishman, tenor; and Kyle White, bass-baritone.
“In past years, the choral singers have always been so excited to perform with the orchestra,” Rayl said. “There is something uniquely fulfilling and festive about it. And given that our choirs have been unable to meet due to the pandemic, this is a wonderful opportunity to look back and celebrate choral singing, to remind us of what we have to look forward to when we return.”
This 18th century oratorio is famous for its "Hallelujah Chorus." It is constructed in three sections, based on the prophecies and Nativity of Jesus, his passion and resurrection, and the salvation of believers achieved by the Messiah. This College of Music production includes the entire first part and substantial portions of the second and third parts.
George Frideric Handel was born in Germany and began his career as a composer working under the patronage of noblemen. He grew restless from the strict orders that limited his creativity and eventually moved to London where he pushed the boundaries of contemporary opera. After some time, Handel grew weary of the extravagant opera productions and turned his attention to oratorios. In 1741, Handel composed the entirety of "Messiah" in the fervor of three to four weeks. Handel was reported to have gone to a performance of his oratorio every year, the last being only eight days before his death.
Rayl reflects that audiences still connect with the piece that was created so long ago.
“It is a tribute to the high quality of the music and its power to connect with audiences that this work still receives thousands of performances each year,” he said.
The Showcase Series is generously sponsored by the MSU Federal Credit Union.
This concert is generously sponsored by Provost Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D. and Thomas V. O’Halloran, Ph.D., and a donor family with the hope that you enjoy the concert and reflect upon its message of peace and joy.