Rehearsals to start for ‘The Messiah’

Published 8:12 pm Wednesday, September 28, 2016

By Blake Deshazo | The Selma Times-Journal
Next week the Selma Choral Society will begin preparing for its December performance of “The Messiah,” which has been a tradition for 69 years.

“Rehearsals always start on the first Tuesday night of October,” said Gordon Welch, who has directed the performance for 19 years. “Then we begin to gather momentum through the rest of the season as we prepare for the presentation.”

The first rehearsal is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m.

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“It is just great to bring together a community of singers, and we invite anybody interested in singing,” Welch said. “There are no auditions. You come and lend your voice to the group.”

Welch encourages anyone that wants to be a part of the tradition to come to the rehearsals at Cornerstone Presbyterian Church.

“This is our gift to the community during the Christmas season,” Welch said. “It really is.”

Each year the group performs a different part of the oratorio, and this year’s performance will feature choruses from the first section.

“This year we are doing selections from part one, which is of course what we call the Christmas section,” Welch said. “It is the section that relates well to this season because it is Christmas time.”

Welch said the first section of “The Messiah” tells the story of Jesus Christ’s birth, but the group will also perform one of the most popular parts of the piece, the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’.

“The ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ doesn’t come until the end of part two, but be assured we will be doing it at the end of the program,” Welch said.

“We cannot leave without it because people would be totally disappointed to not get to hear it during Christmas time.”

Welch said directing “The Messiah” never gets old.

“From a musician’s standpoint, I do love directing these wonderful choruses that Handel put together,” Welch said. “But the thing about it is the camaraderie of getting to see people from the community that you may not have seen since last year and getting to hear them blend their voices together.”

Rehearsals are scheduled for Oct. 4, 11, 18 and 25 and Nov. 1, 8, 15, 21 and 29 at 7:30 p.m.

The performance is set for Sunday, Dec. 4 at 3 p.m. at Cornerstone Presbyterian Church.