By Betsy Thorpe
On December 17th, under the direction of Chorus Director, George Mabry, one hundred and forty six angelic voices came together with the Nashville Symphony to offer the symphony’s forty sixth annual opening night performance of Handel’s renowned oratorio, “Messiah.” In front of the audience, inside the Schermerhorn’s elegant and acoustically exquisite Laura Turner Concert Hall , Mabry followed the Watkins Shaw edition of the oratorio’s vocal score as he lead the choir through the inspiring two hour performance. Considered a “cherished holiday tradition” by Nashville Symphony patrons, Messiah was first performed in Dublin Ireland, premiering on April 13, 1742.
Expressing a varied array of human emotion the symphony and choir brought Thursday night’s audience a sense of exaltation through their presentation of histrionic sacred music and rousing spiritual text. For the choir the oratorio’s series of meditations can be difficult. Tenor, Jonathon Yearworth who has been a member of the Nashville Symphony Chorus since 2001 stated that while the piece “is tiring but not tired ” it “reveals a little more of itself each and every performance.” Director Mabry who leads the chorus that includes a handful of paid singers and numerous “avid volunteers” credits the symphony’s annual performance of “Messiah” for attracting such vocally and stylistically talented volunteers.
On January 11th the Nashville Symphony will announce the lineup for it’s 2010-2011 season and it is a certainty that a December performance of Handel’s Messiah will be included among the exciting concerts and special events that will be listed on next season’s calendar. For information on the upcoming announcement call the Nashville Symphony Box Office at 687-6400.