The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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November 27, 2012

Choir, soloists prepare for ‘Messiah’

CLINTON — For the past month, local singers have been rehearsing for the annual performance of George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah,” which will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday at Zion Lutheran Church, 439 Third Ave. South.

Soloists for the performance have been chosen from among the 60-voice choir, which is made up of members of RiverChor and the Ashford University choir, plus other singers from the community. Soloists include: Addison Bartlett, Kay Harksen, Deanna Petersen, Connie Swanson-De Spain and Laurie Wilkins, sopranos; Karil Carr and Brooke Logan, altos; Jamison Brus, Joe Snyder, Noah Strausser, Luke Vander Bleek and Terry Winter, tenors; and Brian Hägglund, bass.

“This year’s soloists represent a nice cross-section from the choir,” Rob Engelson, conductor, said. “They range from long-time RiverChor members and frequent ‘Messiah’ soloists to singers for whom this will be their first ‘Messiah’ solo experience.”

This is year three in the “Messiah” cycle, which means that the Ashford University Choir also is participating.  

“It’s important that our college singers have at least one experience of singing ‘Messiah’ during their college years,” Engelson said. “Though it’s a bit of a musical challenge for them, they have responded wonderfully and are really looking forward to the performance.”

An orchestra, consisting of Clinton High School and Clinton Symphony Orchestra members, also will accompany the choir. Except for four movements, the entire work will be performed.

“This will be the 79th year that some version of ‘Messiah’ will be performed in the Gateway area,” he said. “It is a very important tradition around here, and we are very excited to carry on that tradition for our audience.”

The concert is free and open to the public. There will be a free-will offering to defray expenses of the performance.

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