Is singing along to Handel’s Messiah once of your favourite traditions? Perhaps you do so every year with Vancouver’s Bach Choir, now in its 90th year.
Well, tonight at 7 pm you can join the Bach Choir online for a Messiah livestream: ‘We’ll be safely gathering a small group of singers from our staff,’ they explain, ‘and they’ll be led by Maestro Leslie Dala and pianist Stephen Smith.’
Benefit: you can sing as loudly as you want with no fear of judgment. The event will stream free on the Bach Choir’s Youtube channel. They do encourage those who are able to donate to charities such as the Coalition for Music Education in Canada and PAL Vancouver.
This charity focus falls well within the original spirit of Handel’s Messiah, which saw its first performance in Dublin – April 13, 1742 – as a fundraiser for three charities: the Charitable Infirmary, to help prisoners in debt, and for Mercers Hospital. In order to squish as many people as possible into the Musick Hall, men were directed to remove their swords, and women requested to leave their dress hoops at home.
Audiences were transfixed from the start. Even the notoriously discerning Beethoven called Handel “the greatest composer that ever lived” for his work on the Messiah. Reeling from recent career disappointments, Handel wrote his seminal work over an intense month in the summer of 1741.
You’ll find downloadable scores on the Vancouver Bach Choir’s website. Happy Singing!
In the interim, here is the renowned Choir of King’s College, Cambridge performing the Messiah’s Hallelujah Chorus.
Header: Handel. Balthasar Denner. 1740