December 14, 2011 9:35:00 AM
Every year, in the thick of the holiday season, more than a hundred people gather from Columbus, Starkville and the surrounding areas.
For some, it's a reunion with old friends. For others, it's a chance to make new ones.
And for those of us who only watch and listen, it's a lesson in the beauty that stems from talented people coming together to make a joyful noise.
The community singing of "Messiah" has become a Golden Triangle holiday tradition.
It draws participants together to rehearse and then to put on a performance to welcome the season. And it is presented to the community free of charge.
Tuesday's show marked the 10th anniversary of the singing.
Held at Annunciation Catholic Church, the performance unifies community members of diverse faiths and backgrounds, to enjoy the simple beauty of voices singing in harmony and showcasing the Christmas portions of George Frideric Handel's "Messiah."
The work has become a cherished Christmas tradition. "Messiah" was written in 1741 by the German-born composer primarily as an Easter and Lent oratorio.
James Allen and his daughter, Elizabeth Swartz, first coordinated the ambitious showcase of local talent in 2001.
Since then, the choir, orchestra and crowd has continued to grow.
It is a religious, cultural and communal experience.
The unity and fellowship forged for such a dynamic performance is symbolic of what our communities should be.
We can come together, even as would-be strangers, and work toward a common goal.
What a blessing it would be if we as a community could do that throughout the year.