CSO Performs Handel’s Messiah

Oratorios singers practice Handel's MessiahThe holiday season is a time for traditions: baking sugar cookies using mom’s special recipe, buying that one new ornament to add to your collection, having a gingerbread house decorating contest with the entire family. For many classical music lovers, attending a performance of Handel’s Messiah is one of those traditions.  Lucky for them, on December 12th at 7:30pm, the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, along with the Oratorio Singers of Charlotte, is presenting its annual performance of this holiday masterpiece.

“Messiah is one of the most special compositions ever conceived,” says Scott Allen Jarrett, the Director of Choruses and Assistant Director for the CSO. Jarrett is in awe of Handel’s work, which makes the job of giving new life to the piece each year easy for him. When asked how he accomplishes this task, he says it’s a matter of finding new meaning: “We have to engage this text in a different way. ‘And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed.’ Well, what is the glory? Who is the glory?” He asks his singers to turn off their “autopilot” and think about what the words they are voicing really mean. The decades’ worth of Messiah performance dates scribbled on the chorus folders are testament to the Jarrett’s ability (and to those before him) to make this familiar music fresh. The performers keep coming back.

In Jarrett’s understanding, the yearly performances of Messiah act as a framework for life. “To me, [each performance] is a point of the year to measure one’s life. Every year, we can measure our lives, our gains, our losses, in the image of the story. The story does not change, but we do.” Conducting the Messiah becomes a very personal experience for this retrospective musician.

Jarrett has one piece of advice to impart on those of you attending the concert on Wednesday night: “I would say to a listener, first time or thirtieth time listener, listen with great openness, listen as if you’ve never heard the story before.”

Visit charlottesymphony.org for information on the soloists, songs, and tickets.

WDAV Gets into Holiday Spirit

The holiday season is a great time to be a part of WDAV, whether you’re on the staff like me or you’re a listener and supporter. First, there’s the wonderful seasonal music. As usual, we will increase the holiday selections as we get deeper into December, and let the holiday feeling linger a little longer by continuing to play Christmas music until the 31st.

There are wonderful special programs we look forward to every year, some of which we produce ourselves. This year we continue our collaboration with St. John’s Baptist Church for another live broadcast of Charlotte Lessons and Carols from St. John’s at noon on December 7th, which we’ll repeat twice more later in the month. Our special guests this year are the choral group Renaissance led by Robert Pritchard and the Wingate University Singers under the direction of Kenney Potter, plus the Ballantyne Brass Quintet. I hope you’ll plan to join us either in the warmth of the St. John’s sanctuary or on the radio.

Many international listener favorites are returning as well, including live broadcasts from King’s College in Cambridge, England and the perennially popular New Year’s Day concert from Vienna.

It all makes for a festive way to bring the year to an end, and to reflect on what we’ve been able to accomplish, and what we have in store for the New Year: on air, online and out in the community.

None of it is possible without the support of devoted listeners who become members. So in the spirit of gratitude and optimism that is so appropriate at this time of year, we say thanks to you, and invite you to continue the musical journey with us on into the New Year.

Wishing you all the warmth of the season,

Frank Dominguez
Interim General Manager
 

***Make sure you check out wdav.org for details on our upcoming Holiday Programming