I don’t usually participate in an event where I don’t know at least one other person who will also be there. But last night I went to a Messiah-sing at a beautiful Catholic Church in seaside Carlsbad where I knew not a soul.
I drove the 30 miles with my copy of the oratorio, and I sat in the middle pews with 100 other altos, (surrounded by 300 sopranos, tenors and basses) and we sang ourselves silly. It was grand. There was a guest conductor, an orchestra, soloists, and scattered members of an actual choir who helped us make our entrances and kept the wild vocal runs from flying helter-skelter into oblivion.
The lady next to me didn’t know anyone either. She came for the same reasons I did. She loves Handel’s Messiah, but she’s no professional musician. And when you love Handel’s Messiah and you hear there’s a Messiah-sing open to the public, well, by Georg, you take it!
I’d do it again. Next year I will. And this time I will know one person. Her name is Susan. Like me.
Did you know Georg Frederic Handel was the son of a barber-surgeon? (What do you say to someone who asks you what you do for a living when you’re a barber-surgeon? It’s like saying you’re a gardener-astronaut, or a plumber-lawyer, or a tailor-chemist . . .)
Apparently, it was during a low spot in Handel’s career that a friend talked Handel into composing an oratorio based upon a selection of biblical passages this friend had recently arranged. Handel wrote the entire oratorio in the span of just 24 days, from August 22 until September 14, in 1741.
And here I thought 300 pages of story in 30 days was noteworthy. . .