Ebenezer to perform ‘The Messiah’

Published 9:16 pm Thursday, December 22, 2016

Ebenezer Missionary Baptist church will perform it’s 45th installment of The Messiah Friday at 8 p.m.

“It’s always on the 23rd of December at 8 p.m.,” said Athelstein Johnson, a church member and promoter of the event. “It’s an opportunity for persons of all areas, of all denominations, all congregations to blend in together. It’s really a community event and hopefully it will continue to grow.”

This year’s performance will feature choruses from the first section of the oratorio composed by George Fredric Handel in 1742.

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“It’s something that we look forward to each year to be reminded of the reason for the season, to focus on Christ and not to focus on the commercial part,” Johnson said. “It’s an opportunity to fellowship and to praise the Lord and to place the emphasis for the season with the real reason, which is concentrating on Christ.”

The conductor for the program is Collins Pettaway Jr., and the guest conductor is Dr. Horace Carney, director of the University Choir at Alabama A&M University.

Minister Valerie Reese Harris will serve as the accompanist.

Johnson said the performance is a great opportunity for people all over the community to come together and sing, and for former members of the church to come back during the holidays and participate.

“It’s a very special opportunity for former members that have moved away, to come home to visit for Christmas to have a cultural outlet and share their voices and reunite with other members,” Jonson said. “It’s amazing how that choir just gets larger and larger.”

Johnson estimated around 75 people will be in the choir to perform, and many have been practicing since early November.

“I’m ecstatic about it,” Johnson said. “I’m looking forward to it. I plan to be there to greet people that come in and to share the experience and invite all the people in the community.”