CLINTON — The holiday season is here, and that means the continuation of a 90-year Clinton tradition.
The annual performance of Handel’s “Messiah,” will begin at 3 p.m. Dec. 12 at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 715 S. Third St., Clinton. As a re-boot of the tradition, this year will feature a Sing-Along with Karl Wolf as director and Christine Holmer at the piano.
“The Sing-Along is a wonderful, informal event where participants sing through favorite choruses from Handel’s masterpiece,” said organizer Brooke Logan. “Large portions of the work are very accessible, so we hope that new people will come and give it a try in this no-pressure atmosphere.”
Participants are encouraged to bring their own scores; however, there will be scores available for those who need them.
The Sing-Along is a relatively new component of the “Messiah” tradition. It began in 1987 after John De Haan, former choir director at Clinton High School and longtime “Messiah” conductor, decided to discontinue his involvement. Dorothy Rathje, director of music at Zion Lutheran Church at the time, did not want to see the tradition that had been started in 1931 by her father, the Rev. Frederick Schoenbohm, come to an end.
Rathje organized a sing-along that resulted in more than 100 singers and nine soloists gathering at Zion to keep the holiday event going. Since the early 1990s, the Sing-Along has alternated with a presentation of all of Part I with piano accompaniment, and a performance of virtually the entire work with orchestra.
In addition to choruses, several of the solos may also be performed by guest singers.
“Members of RiverChor will be the ‘core’ of the group, plus we look forward to seeing singers who have been a part of Clinton’s ‘Messiah’ for years,” said Logan. “It’s always a joyous reunion!”
Spectators are also welcome to come and listen to the performance. The event is free. Additional information is available at https://RiverChor.org