Monday, December 22, 2008

Handel's Messiah

A bit of Christmas magic happened yesterday.

Yesterday, musicians gathered inside a church (a HUGE churche, actually)---some with their instruments, some armed only with voices and song. The work was Handel's Messiah---a work all serious singers perform in bits and pieces, but few get to perform in its intended setting.

We gathered at Ward's Presbyterian Church...along with a huge, appreciative crowd. And after a short rehearsal, we performed---singers, orchestra, and audience, raising voices in the spirit of Christmas.

It was one of the best concerts I've been part of...ever.

And it was done only out of love...whether love of music, love of God, or love of the spirit of Christmas. The venue was great...the singing was great (well, except for me; I think I'm coming down with another cold, and I doubt I sounded very good)...and everyone left with their hearts full of generosity and good cheer.

It was bitter cold outside, but that didn't matter. Everyone felt warm on the inside...and that's what really counts.

One postscript: in addition to Madonna's Dr. Dave, one of the conductors was Dr. Jerry Smith---a past choir director for Ward Church and something of a local legend in music circles around here. He was the music director at Livonia's Bentley High School forty years ago, when I was a teenager; and I remember singing some of our combined concerts with Bentley---and noticing the striking director, with the unique and forceful style. I understand that he's kept in touch with most of his students...and they get together for choir reunions from time to time, held together by shared memories, and their shared love of music and Dr. Smith. After the concert, I went up to talk to him...and told him how much fun it was singing for him again.

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