Sunday, Dec. 8 at 3:30 and 7 p.m.—RUTLAND—The Grace Congregational Church presents Alastair Stout conducting the Rutland Area Chorus, soloists and Festival Orchestra in Handel’s “Messiah” Part 1 (Christmas) and “Hallelujah Chorus.” Soloists are soprano Allison Steinmetz, mezzo-sorpano Amy Frostman, tenor Cameron Steinmetz and bass Zebulun McLellan.
“‘Messiah’ tells the story of the birth of Jesus in a really fantastic way,” Stout said. “At Grace Congregational we use dancers, bagpipes and four great, local soloists to really bring the drama to life.”
Also on the bill are Henry Purcell’s “Sing Unto the Lord” and Michael Sitton’s “O Emmanuel,” which is the winning entry in the Grace Congregational Church composition competition. This year is the premiere year of what will be an annual song-writing competition.
“We encouraged and received submissions from all over the world, a few from Europe, as well here in the US,” Stout said. “We’re looking forward to really supporting the creation of new music.”
Dr Sitton, who is dean of the Crane School of Music in Potsdam, New York, described his work:
“‘O Emmanuel’ is a setting of a text based on the Advent ‘O Antiphons,’ for mixed choir, chamber orchestra, a solo quartet employed to sing an unaccompanied recurring refrain. It is a predominantly lyrical setting, with a quiet opening and closing, and encompasses a variety of moods and textures reflecting each verse of the text. Instrumental support is primarily provided by string ensemble, with additional support and added color from organ and timpani. A pair of oboes are featured both as solo instruments and for occasional doubling and obbligato material. While the text clearly ties to the Advent tradition and to Hebrew and Christian scriptures, the content is largely nonsectarian in its thrust and speaks to universal aspirations of hope and longing.”
Grace Congregational Church is located at 8 Court St. in Rutland. Admission is by donation, call 802-775-4301 or visit gracechurchvt.org for more information.