'Messiah' rehearsals start Monday

CLINTON — One of Clinton’s longest-running Christmas traditions is here again: rehearsals are starting for Clinton’s annual performance of George Frideric Handel’s beloved oratorio “Messiah.”

Rehearsals will begin at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 12, in the Great Hall of First Presbyterian Church, 400 Fifth Ave. South.

“This is year three in our regular cycle,” Rob Engelson, conductor of the performances, said. “That means we’ll do virtually the entire work with orchestra accompaniment. RiverChor will be the core group for the choir; hopefully, we’ll have a lot of interested community singers show up Monday to begin rehearsals.”

Scores will be provided for those who need them; singers who have their own scores are invited to use them if they wish. The performance is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, at Zion Lutheran Church. “We only have three Monday night rehearsals available,” Engelson said, “so as performance time approaches, there may also be at least one Sunday afternoon rehearsal.”

Since the first performance in 1931, there have been only two years when an annual "Messiah" performance of some kind didn’t take place.

“It’s an incredible tradition that over the years has featured thousands of singers giving of their time and talent to give this wonderful gift to the Clinton community,” Engelson said. “We’re very excited that we can keep the tradition alive.”

Admission to the concert is free, but a free-will offering will be taken to offset expenses incurred for the performance. The public is cordially invited.