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Amelia Islander

Holiday Concert November 20 and 22

Oct 12, 2015 02:00AM
Following a centuries old musical tradition, the Island Chamber Singers will ring in the holiday season with a performance of George Frederic Handel’s The Messiah on November 20 and 22 at the Amelia Plantation Chapel. The concert will feature the Christmas portions of The Messiah plus the much-loved “Hallelujah Chorus” accompanied by a string quartet, piano, harpsichord, brass and timpani.

Written in English in 1741, the text of The Messiah comes from three parts of the Bible: Old Testament prophesies of the Messiah’s birth; New Testament stories of his birth, death, and resurrection; and verses relating to judgment day, with the final piece drawn from the Book of Revelation. The work is part of the Baroque period, and Handel composed it in oratorio form, which means it is a large concert piece for orchestra, choir and soloists. The libretto Handel used for the text was written by his friend Charles Jennens, a wealthy supporter of the arts in England.

Born in Halle, Germany, in 1685, Handel always loved music and resisted his father’s efforts to convince him to study law. He would sneak off to the attic of his family’s home to play a clavichord that had been hidden there. When he was just 11 years old, his genius was discovered by a nobleman, which launched his career as a musician, composer, and conductor at courts and churches in Rome, Florence, Naples and Venice, as well as Germany. He composed his first opera when he was 18 years old, and his body of work includes about 20 oratorios and 50 operas. Handel eventually settled in England, arriving in London in 1712 and later becoming a British citizen. Legend has it that during the London premier of The Messiah in 1743, King George II was so enthusiastic about the “Hallelujah Chorus” that he stood up, beginning a tradition that still takes place today. Handel died at home in the Mayfair district of London in 1759 at the age of 74. His home has been restored, and the original manuscript of his Messiah is in the music collection of the British Library. Soloists for the concert are tenor Bob McLeary, bass David Scheininger, altos Mary Williams and Brenda Kayne, and sopranos Lisa Flick and Glynis Wood.

The forty-member Island Chamber Singers, established on Amelia Island in 2004, was established by Jane Lindberg, who still leads the group today. The singers have a varied repertoire, including Mozart’s Requiem, Beethoven’s Fantasia in C Minor, Brahms’ How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place, Brubeck’s To Hope! A Celebration, Handel’s Coronation Anthems, Rutter’s Magnificat, and selections from Aaron Copland and Gilbert and Sullivan. The concerts will take place at Amelia Plantation Chapel, 36 Bowman Road, Amelia Island, on Friday, November 20, at 7 pm and Sunday, November 22, at 3 pm. An opening night reception will be held in the Fellowship Hall immediately following Friday evening's performance.

Tickets are $15 for adults when purchased in advance of concert day. They can be purchased online at; from a member of Island Chamber Singers; at the Amelia Island Welcome Center, 102 Centre Street, (800) 226-3542; at Peterbrooke Chocolatier, 1427 Sadler Road; at the AIFBY Chamber of Commerce, 961687 Gateway Blvd., Suite 101G (at A1A and Amelia Island Parkway), (904) 261-3248; and at Harrison’s Mercantile at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Spa and Shops, (904) 432-2218. Tickets may also be purchased at the door for $20. Tickets are always FREE for all students. For further information or to audition to sing with the group, please call (904) 225-0575 on weekdays.