I went to my first Handel’s Messiah Sing-a-Long Friday night. This one was a joint effort between the ProMusica Orchestra in Columbus, Ohio and area orchestras and choirs–plus their conductors who took turns conducting various segments. As soon as I took my place in the soprano section, it was obvious I wasn’t prepared for such an event. All around me people had score books with the music and the lyrics. I had just the program that was handed to me at the door. Oh. That’s what a sing-a-long means. I expected that there would be a choir that I would listen to and the audience would pipe in from time to time. Not so. Not in this case.
The audience was the chorus, meaning the main event. Like a true chorus, we were directed to sit in sections according to our voice range. And, although I was dressed fairly nicely, I wasn’t in the same league as the women around me, particularly the one in front of me with the spectacular dress and a voice to match. Think sequins and tulle, but stylish, like something Beverly Sills would wear. I briefly wondered if the wrinkles in my pants had shaken out by now.
But, being that I’m game for about anything, I stood on cue and followed the conductor’s stick, thankful that I’ve heard the Messiah more than once, and thankful for my high school choir days. I may not have had the score in front of me, but I could fudge a bit. Truly, this was a blast, but next year, I’m bringing the score, and if I don’t have one, I’m looking for that woman in the sequins. She was awesome. Listening to her helped me find the range and follow along–even though my voice could be described as “thin” and often off key. But, hey, I paid honest money for the price of the ticket, and that means, I’ll sing if I want to. You don’t have to sing though, several people, like my mother, just sat and listened.
If you’re looking for a special holiday event, find a sing-a-long Messiah. From what I’ve found out since last night, these are increasingly popular. I found several that have already happened this year. Here are some Sing-A-Long Messiah’s still happening.
- National Chorale, Avery Fischer Hall, New York City: Dec. 16
- Downtown Symphony, New York City: Dec. 16
- Scottsdale Symphony Orchestra, Scottsdale, Arizona: Dec. 18 (this link goes to an article and an audio of the event that explains what this is about and has interviews.)
- L.A. Master Corale, Los Angeles, California: Dec. 18
- Wienberg Center for the Arts, Frederick, Maryland: Dec. 19
- Boulder Messiah Chorale, Boulder, Colorado: Dec. 22-23
- Arlington, Vermont, St. James Church (free): Dec. 30
Here’s a link to “How to Sing Handel’s Messiah” If I had only known.