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November 2003

Release Date: November 17, 2003

ASU Choir to Present 'Messiah' Highlights, Holiday Favorites Nov. 25

In the spirit of the holiday season, the Angelo State University Choir with orchestra will present highlights from George Frederic Handel's magnificent oratorio "Messiah" as well as a selection of other seasonal favorites during a special holiday concert Tuesday, Nov. 25.

The 75-minute musical program will begin at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 25 in the sanctuary of the First Baptist Church, 37 E. Harris, in downtown San Angelo. The program is open free to the public. Ample seating will be available.

"Messiah," the most popular oratorio ever written and the climax of George F. Handel's brilliant musical career, has become a monumental standard of both classical and religious music.

Composed in just 24 days of concentrated and uninterrupted effort, the work is divided into three parts. Part I establishes God's plan to redeem the world through a Savior and presents the story of the Nativity. The theme of Part II is the victory of Christ over sin and the perpetuation of His kingdom on earth. Part III concerns God's promise of redemption, resurrection and eternal life.

ASU's performance will include the majority of Part I through "Rejoice greatly, O daughters of Jerusalem" and excerpts from both Part II, including "Surely He hath borne our griefs" and the "Hallelujah Chorus," and Part III, including "The trumpet shall sound" and "Worthy is the Lamb."

The choir will also sing excerpts from Randol Alan Bass' popular carol medley "Christmas Ornaments." Bass, who currently serves as music director and conductor for the Metropolitan Wind Ensemble of Dallas, grew up in Midland where he studied piano, worked in community theater and sang in church and school choirs.

Additional concert selections will include "What Sweeter Music" by popular British composer John Rutter and André Thomas' cheerful Jamaican spiritual "Here's A Pretty Little Baby" with steel drum and calypso rhythm ensemble. A perennial favorite, Leroy Anderson's "Sleigh Ride," will enhance the holiday mood.

Special guests will be the Lee Junior High Concert Choir under the direction of ASU alumnus Patti Wetzel. The Lee students will sing "Rejoice greatly" from "Messiah" and Pietro Yon's beloved lullaby "Gésu Bambino," featuring soloist and former Lee choir director Coralie Wetzel, also an ASU alumnus. The Lee and ASU choirs will join together to perform the stirring anthem "O Holy Night."

In addition to the vocal talents of the ASU Choir, the holiday program will feature the instrumental talents of many of San Angelo's finest musicians, including Nada Huey, Gretchen Goldman, Brandie Phillips and Debra Scott, violin; Dorothy Douthitt and David San Miguel, viola; Amanda Findley, cello; Kelly Henson, bass; Kitty Carrico and Julia Bass Rogers, flute; Sharon Towndrow and Kim Dyer, oboe; Dr. Norman Sunderman and Mande Hutchison, clarinet; Dr. John Irish and David Evans, trumpet; Brian Gatchel, French horn; Louellen Meyer, organ; and Jason Gregg, timpani.

Featured soloists will be Dr. Eldon Black, bass, and Dr. Scott Raines, baritone. Dr. Pamela Lee, ASU's director of choral activities, will conduct the performance.

The concert will provide a rare opportunity for area residents to hear a live performance of many works from one of the monumental vocal compositions in all of classical music, Handel's "Messiah." For more information, contact the Department of Art and Music at 942-2085, Ext. 221 or 232.