- $10 for one general-admission ticket (up to $15 value)
Venues and Showtimes
- At St. John of Rochester Church on Friday, December 4, at 7:30 p.m.
- At Linehan Chapel at Nazareth College of Rochester on Saturday, December 5, at 7:30 p.m.
Classical with a Cause: Handel’s Messiah in Context
- The Main Event: Best known for the soul-shaking “Hallelujah” chorus at its heart, Handel’s Messiah meditates on the first Christmas with English lyrics drawn from the King James Bible and Book of Common Prayer. A holiday favorite for its joyful reverence, rich orchestration, and emotional resonance, the oratorio is also known for its malleability. The conductors who perform habitually it bend and trim it to their whim, creating pieces that are uniquely their own.
- The Context: If it weren’t for a charity event—a 1750 fundraiser for London’s Foundling Hospital (an organization dedicated to rescuing and educating abandoned children)—it’s highly unlikely that Handel’s work would be as popular as it is today. In fact, that event was so successful that Handel conducted his Messiah at the hospital every year until his death.
- Rounding Out the Program: Handel’s Anthem for the Foundling Hospital, which was also featured at that fated charity concert, and newer Handel-inspired works by Sir John Tavener and Michael Nyman.
Genesee Valley Orchestra and Chorus
It all started with a celebration 200 years in the making. In 1976, Diocesan Festival Chorus conductor Virginia Hogan was asked to prepare a concert dedicated to the nation's Bicentennial. Once she began looking, she found talent all around her, and from the community, she amassed a chorus of 40 voices to ring out in celebration of the nation's founding.
Later that year, a small orchestra joined forces with the group for a traditional performance of Handel's Messiah, and the ensemble that would become Genesee Valley Orchestra and Chorus was officially born. Their ranks soon swelled to more than 100 singing members and one quiet one who's allowed to just wave a stick around. Simultaneously, their repertoire expanded. It now includes not just hymns and oratorios but also spirituals, show tunes, and traditional folk songs.