Stephen F. Austin State University

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SFA's A Cappella Choir to perform 'Messiah'

March 23, 2017 - Robbie Goodrich
SFA's A Cappella Choir will perform G.F. Handel's "Messiah" at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 8, in Cole Concert Hall on the university campus.
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The A Cappella Choir at Stephen F. Austin State University will present a full performance of G.F. Handel's great oratorio, "Messiah," at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 8, in Cole Concert Hall in the Wright Music Building on the SFA campus.

"This is one of the most well-known masterworks in all of music's history," said Dr. Tim King, director of choral activities at SFA. "In the places that perform the complete 'Messiah,' it is a grand event, and in some cases, a yearly event."

Putting together all the details for such a large masterwork is a great challenge, King said.

"Nacogdoches concert-goers know the first act of the 'Messiah' from our Christmas concerts here on campus," King said. "In fact, many have sung as a part of our community chorus. What we will perform this time is not just the Christmas portion, but the entire work. What a great opportunity for our students - a once-in-a-lifetime experience!"

The performance will feature SFA music students and faculty along with guest string players from the Dallas and Houston areas. Soloists include Joshua Chavira, Houston graduate student, countertenor; and faculty members Debbie Berry, soprano; Charlotte Davis, soprano; Ric Berry, tenor; and Scott LaGraff, bass.

The three-act oratorio is told in: Act 1 - the prophecy and birth; Act 2 - the suffering and passion; and Act 3 - the promise of eternal life.

"There are no 'characters' or action scenes, yet the story lives in the listener through Handel's wonderful and familiar music," King said. "He was a genius."

During Handel's time, theatrical/opera productions, by ecclesiastical decree, were prohibited during the season of Lent, and so the English turned to oratorio, King explained.

"April 8 is the Saturday before Holy Week during the season of Lent - a perfect time for our 'Messiah,'" he said. "I hope the audience experiences the grandeur of this Baroque masterpiece, and that the music and story have meaning for them."

During his tenure at SFA, King, who plans to retire this summer, has conducted many masterworks, but conducting "Messiah" provides exceptional enjoyment.

"To once again be able to conduct the 'Messiah' brings great pleasure for my students, the community and my musical experience," he said.

It is rare that reserved tickets are sold for events in Cole Concert Hall.

"However, the popularity of the 'Messiah' demands that we do so," King said.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $5 for students and youth. All seats are reserved. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS or visit http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu/.