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Midvale Journal

Hallelujah! ‘Messiah’ is coming in time for Easter

Mar 07, 2018 11:31AM ● By Ruth Hendricks

Rehearsal for 2016 “Messiah” concert. (Midvale Utah Community Messiah)

All are welcome at a community Easter celebration of Georg Friedrich Handel’s “Messiah” on Sunday, March 25 at 7 p.m. at the Union Middle School auditorium (615 E. 8000 South). 

The “Messiah” is an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by Handel, with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible, and from the version of the Psalms included with the Book of Common Prayer.

Considered the most magnificent classical masterwork of all time, Handel’s “Messiah” features the “Hallelujah Chorus” and a host of other glorious orchestrations, both choral and solo, many of which contain very familiar melodies. 

Concert producer Suzanne Walker is hoping to spread the word to people who don’t know about this community tradition. She said she believes that communities are losing their “front porches,” where people used to sit and visit with neighbors. “Community traditions, particularly the arts, are a way for us to find a ‘front porch’, to find a way to connect with our neighbors, friends, and family,” said Walker.

This performance on March 25 will be the 33rd annual presentation of the Midvale Utah Community “Messiah.” Directed by Jan Litster and Sean Raleigh with the choir, soloists, and orchestra made up of local professional and amateur musicians, this is truly a community tradition. 

Litster has been with the “Messiah” since its inception and was instrumental in starting this tradition. Raleigh has recently joined the ranks of conductor and also plays in the orchestra.

A full chamber orchestra will accompany the interfaith choir and soloists. Traditionally performed at Christmas, “Messiah” was originally an Easter offering. It burst onto the stage of Musick Hall in Dublin on April 13, 1742. Handel was generous to those in need and as such, he gave his portion of the “Messiah” debut proceeds to a debtors’ prison and hospital in Dublin. 

In that tradition of giving, concert organizers are asking patrons to bring a can of food to donate to the local community food pantry.

According to Wikipedia, for this 1742 Dublin concert to have the largest possible audience, gentlemen were requested to remove their swords and ladies were asked not to wear hoops in their dresses. 

More information can be found at