March 20, 2010 9:19:00 PM
In what may be one of the most memorable fine art musical presentations in the Golden Triangle''s recent memory, the Columbus Choral Society and Meridian Symphony Chorus will join to present Easter selections of George Frideric Handel''s "Messiah" Sunday, March 28.
The 6:30 p.m. performance in the sanctuary of First United Methodist Church, 602 Main St., in Columbus will also feature full orchestral accompaniment, including organ and harpsichord. The combined choruses and orchestra will number near 200.
Formed in 2009, with the goal of offering fine art music, the choral society undertakes a very ambitious work with this project.
Conductor Doug Browning said, "This is a very challenging and demanding vocal work ... "
While many people are familiar with and attend the annual Christmas performances of portions of "Messiah," Browning noted they may not realize Handel''s complete oratorio is approximately four hours long.
"It takes Christ from birth to resurrection," he said. "The Easter portion is passionate; it really attempts to relate the passion of what Christ went through."
Sharing conducting duties during the hour-long program will be Meridian Symphony Chorus director Dr. Bob Hermetz.
"He was my mentor in the early years, when I began training at Meridian Community College," Browning said. "So this is kind of full circle to collaborate on this major work."
In a reciprocal role, the Columbus Choral Society will travel to Meridian to perform the concert at Highland Baptist Church April 11.
The orchestra for this sacred concert is comprised of symphony players from throughout the state and Alabama, Browning added.
"I''m really proud of the Choral Society members," the director stressed. "This Easter portion is very difficult; they come out of rehearsal red in the face, sweating ... they have worked. This is applied singing, not light-weight. They''ve really done a great work in taking this challenge on ... "
Tickets are free and available at the FUMC office, 602 Main St., or from any Columbus Choral Society member. Doors will open at 5:45 p.m. A reception will follow in the Artz Fellowship Hall. For additional information, contact the church office at 662-328-5252.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.