SALISBURY, MD---Handel’s Messiah is famed for its “Hallelujah Chorus” and more.
For what may be the first time locally in nearly two decades, the full Messiah is performed at Salisbury University on Saturday, April 30. Featuring the University Chorale, Salisbury Chorale and Harlem Festival Orchestra, the one-show-only performance is 7:30 p.m. in Holloway Hall Auditorium. In all, the production includes some 90 vocalists and 24 instrumentalists.
Dr. William Folger, director of choral studies, and John Wesley Wright, voice professor, are artistic directors for the performance. Both teach in the University’s Department of Music.
“We collaborated on Amahl and the Night Visitors and pieces by Ariel Ramirez last semester, and this is the next step,” said Folger. “John and I think we have students in our program who can handle the demanding solos.”
They include Caitlyn Howard, Kathrin Thawley and Terron Quailes. Guest baritone Reginald Pindell and contralto La’Shelle Allen of the American Spiritual Ensemble join them. Pindell previously performed the title role in the SU Department of Music’s presentation of Elijah in 2008.
“The line between professional and student will be blurred,” said Wright.
Providing an instrumental background for the soloists and 90 singers, New York’s Harlem Festival Orchestra is no stranger to Messiah. The group performs it annually at Delaware State University. That’s where Wright met its members while serving as a guest soloist.
Founded in 1986, the orchestra has played some of New York’s most prestigious venues, including Carnegie and Alice Tully halls. The New York Times has called its performance “thrilling.”
The artistic directors hope the diversity displayed by the predominately African-American orchestra, coupled with dramatic presentations between songs, will provide an unforgettable experience.
“Most people know Messiah,” said Folger. “This is an opportunity to hear it in a unique way—a once-in-a-lifetime performance.”
The Peter and Judy Jackson Music Performance Fund; Bank of Delmarva; Scott Duncan, in memory of former Salisbury Chorale member Michael Doyle; and the SU offices of the Provost and Dean of the Charles R. and Martha N. Fulton School of Liberal Arts sponsor the concert.
Admission is $20, $15 for seniors and non-SU students, free for children ages 12 and under. Admission for SU students, faculty and staff is by donation.
Tickets are available at SU’s Department of Music Office, Fulton Hall Room 200. Tickets also may be reserved by phone at 410-543-6385.
For more information visit the SU Web site at www.salisbury.edu.