Area performance of Christmas music to use volunteers

By Abraham Miller

It’s the time of the year again to eat, drink, be merry and sing at the 14th anniversary of the do-it-yourself community participation “Messiah” sing-along.

The event is at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10 at the Egyptian Theatre. The doors will open at 7 p.m.

Composer Frederick Handel’s “Messiah,” which was first performed at Neal’s Musick Hall of Dublin, Ireland in 1742, is considered his most popular oratorio.

The music of the Christmas section is a holiday tradition which, according to Elwood Smith, professor in the School of Music, began roughly 15 to 20 years ago.

The orchestra accompaniment will be performed by the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra and local guest soloists. The performance will be conducted by Smith, who has stepped up to the podium every year since the first DeKalb performance was given.

The last section, whih is the chorus, will be composed of volunteers from the community who wish to clear their throats and share their voices with all present.

Vocally inclined individuals who wish to perform only need to bring a copy of the “Messiah” score to use for themselves or to share with others who might not be able to obtain one.

Smith said copies of the score can be found in most local churches, the music stores of DeKalb or Sycamore and in the Music Building’s library.

There is no price for admission, and the only requirement for partaking in the event is a desire to be a part of it.

The tradition of presenting the “Messiah” was started by the Preservation of the Egyptian Theatre committee. Smith said it was started in response to the growing popularity of the do-it-yourself “Messiahs” that many towns like Rockford were beginning to present.

Attendance to the program has grown in the years since its conception. It has grown from approximately 400 people to a present running rate of about 500.

The production costs are being underwritten by a grant from the Mary E. Stevens Concert & Lecture Fund administered by the National Bank and Trust Company of Sycamore.