Walla Walla Choral Society to perform part of Messiah

The performance will be at Walla Walla University Church, and will include the church's organ and a 19-piece orchestra.

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WALLA WALLA -- A giant in the world of classical choral music will be performed Tuesday by the Walla Walla Choral Society.

George Frideric Handel's "Messiah" is an English oratorio that depicts the birth and death of Christ. Even though the choir is performing only the first half of the work, the concert will still take close to an hour, said Christine Janis, artistic director and conductor.

"Very few groups ever do the whole thing without cuts," Janis said, noting that "Messiah" is broken into two parts, Christ's birth and death. Tuesday's concert will include all 21 movements from the first half.

"This is one of our bigger undertakings. We have done some big things with the symphony but on our own, this is one of the bigger things we have taken on in quite a while," she said.

The performance will be held at the Walla Walla University church, and will include the church's organ and a 19-piece orchestra.

For those who are unfamiliar with the entire work, Janis described it as a beautiful orchestral piece set to biblical English text.

"It is fabulous music. It is inspiring. It is joyful. And we are concluding with the Hallelujah chorus," Janis said, noting that the Hallelujah chorus is actually from the second part of "Messiah," but was added because of its significance.

Handel's "Messiah" begins with a 3 1/2-minute overture. The choir doesn't sing until the third movement, she added, trying to prepare people for what to expect. Some of the 22 movements that will be performed are shorter than 30 seconds, while others are just shy of five minutes. Many of the movements are fast and pose a challenge for the Choral Society.

"Handel was a composer in the Baroque period," she said. "And music in that time tended to be very fluid and had a lot of fast-moving notes."

Alfred Diaz can be reached at alfreddiaz@wwub.com or 526-8325.

The Walla Walla Choral Society concert is at 7:30 p.m. Cost is $10. Children 12 and under are free when accompanied bywith a paid adult.



concert details

The Walla Walla Choral Society will perform a portion of Handel's Messiah with other works Tuesday at Walla Walla University Church.

The performance will include Frank Kuykendall's arrangement of "Joy to the World;" "O Little One Sweet" by Johann Sebastian Bach; "Allon, Gay Bergeres" (Fr. Go Happy Shephard) by Guillaume Costeley, and "Psallite, Unigenito" by Michael Praetorius.

The concert is at 7:30 p.m. Cost is $10. Children 12 and under are free when accompanied by a paid adult.

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