"Messiah" is the Mendelssohn Choir's holiday offering at Quick Center for the Arts


The Mendelssohn Choir of Connecticut (MCC) will ring in the holiday season with the glorious sounds of George Frederich Handel's "Messiah," on Saturday, Dec. 9, at 8 p.m., in Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. The choir, under the direction of conductor Carole Ann Maxwell, has been named the Quick Center's Chorus-in-Residence for 2000-01.

Handel wrote "Messiah" in 1741 to a libretto of Londoner Charles Jennens who had fashioned a text from the Old and New Testaments and parts of the Anglican Service that clearly marks a progress from Prophecy and Nativity (Part I), to the Crucifixion and Resurrection (Part II), to the promise of Redemption (Part III).

This is unique among Handel's oratorios in that the protagonist, Christ, never appears nor is any event of his life specifically described. However the plot, in its immense epic scope, is imbued with values of faith, hope, struggle, triumph and solace that are part of Christian beliefs, though not necessarily church specific.

The choir will be accompanied by the Festival Orchestra and Beth Palmer of Trumbull on harpsichord. The soloists are: Soprano Kat Alston, a New Haven native, and the winner of the Golden Voice Award and the Leontyne Price Vocal Arts Competition; Sharon Derby Gordon of Fairfield, a mezzo-soprano, who recently made her New York City solo debut as part of Trinity Church's Noonday Concert series.

Also performing are: tenor Joel R. Anyan of Ridgefield, currently the soloist at Trinity Episcopal Church in Southport; and bassist Craig Hart of Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., who has sung with most of the nation's leading opera companies, including the Metropolitan in New York City.

Well into its second decade of music making, MCC continues to reward audiences with its excellent performances of choral masterpieces and new works by leading composers commissioned by the choir. Prepared by its founding member, Carole Ann Maxwell, the ensemble has consistently won critical acclaim for its own concerts as well as its collaborations with the Connecticut Grand Opera and Orchestra, the Greater Bridgeport Symphony and the Wallingford Symphony.

The concert is sponsored in part by ITT, Xerox, UST, CK Witco Corporation and Cannon USA, Inc. Tickets are $25 and may be purchased by calling the box office at (203) 254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on November 10, 2000

Vol. 33, No. 89