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'Messiah' presented at Fox theater

Thursday, December 13, 2012

(Photo)
The Community Choir, under the direction of Wes Morton will present Handel's "Messiah" this week at the Fox Playhouse.
By Carolyn Gray Thornton

Special to the Daily Mail

The Community Council on the Performing Arts is presenting the "Messiah" as its Christmas performance, this Friday and Saturday, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, at 2 p.m., at the Fox theater (Dec. 14, 15 and 16).

For 200 years audiences have been moved by George Frideric Handel's "Messiah." This weekend Vernon County can share that experience again as the Community Choir, under the direction of Wesley Morton, brings this masterpiece for our enjoyment.

The local presentation is made even more pleasurable by the persons involved. Rhonda Leonard on the piano and Jan Davis, organist, accompanying the four soloists, Theresa Spencer, Anita Byers, Wesley Morton and William Martin and the 34 choir members ensure an outstanding musical experience.

For the second year, the young people from the Christian Heritage Academy Orchestra, under the direction of Rebecca Cutler, are joining with the CCPA musicians with their violin, viola, cello and trumpet instruments to enhance the singers. Their skill and discipline bring additional pleasure to the audience. These musicians are a by-product of a Suzuki violin program started in 2001 and now involves 30 children, 19 of whom will be performing at this event.

The printed programs for this performance add to the understanding and appreciation of the Messiah. The key words in each section are printed along with the chapter and verse from the Bible to bring the total message clearly. The scenes are explained along with the musical identification. I found this printed explanation added much to my understanding and appreciation of the message.

The sponsor for the performance is the family of Dennis Thomas, whose presence and bass voice will be missed after the many years he was a valuable member of the Community Choir.

This entire event speaks to the cooperation that the schools, churches, businesses, and volunteers from many professions bring to the community. As you read the short biographical notes you notice that these musicians are sharing their talents with students in Cottey College, the public school systems of the county, and the private Christian Heritage Academy.

But in addition, among the singers are two dentists, two ministers, many teachers, four married couples, young adults, business people and retirees who have given hours of rehearsals to prepare for the three performances for our enjoyment. One singer said that she had been part of the choir since 1995 and loved being part of the group. She also appreciated being able to sing the "Messiah" in such a group.

In summary, to show the cohesiveness of the group in addition to the blending of their voices, at the end of rehearsal Wes Morton looked at the group and said, "You guys are wonderful!"



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