Handel’s Messiah to be performed

By Sean Leary

On the evening of Dec. 14 DeKalb will host the Messiah. Handel’s Messiah that is.

The event, which will be peformed at the Egyptian Theatre, is marking its 11th anniversary as part of DeKalb County’s holiday celebration.

The show is being performed by the Kishwaukee Symphony and NIU soloists conducted by Dr. Elwood Smith. The intriguing aspect of the show is that the third part of the musical, the chorus, is performed by the audience.

“The Messiah is not a performance in the usual sense, being that the orchestra and the soloists are on the stage, but the chorus is provided by the audience,” said Smith. “This really makes the performance more fulfilling for the audience and is more popular.”

The audience isn’t obliged to participate in the production, Smith said, and in fact most members do not. However, the option brings about a “community dimension” to the piece.

Another unique aspect to the show is that the event is free to the public. “Most communities charge (admission) to attend the performance,” said Barb Kummefeldt, executive director of the Egyptian Theatre.

a”We feel that we are fortunate that we are able to present the show free to the public, because it really is a special treat for the Christmas season,” Kummerfeldt said.

The performance is free to the public due in part to a grant provided by the Mary E. Stevens Lecture Series.

Almost 250 years ago, the Messiah was performed in public for the first time. That first performance of George Frederick Handel’s Oratorio “Messiah” was produced in Ireland.

Since then, the Oratorio has been performed throughout the world. The Christmas section of the music has become a holiday tradition and builds to the crescendo of the performance at the “Hallelujah Chorus.”

The holiday tradition of presenting the “Messiah” was started by the Preservation of the Egyptian Theatre committee (P.E.T.). The performance began in 1980.

A number of NIU students perform in the symphony, Smith said. In addition students have also performed as soloists, he added.

The doors will open t the public at 7 p.m., and the performance of the “Messiah” will begin at 7:30 p.m.

“We hope everyone comes out to the Messiah,” Kummerfeldt said. “The performance is a great way to start Christmas.”