HAMPTON, Va. (Nov. 21, 2017) – Back by popular demand, the Hampton University Chamber Orchestra and the University Concert Choir are joining forces again to perform Handel’s “Messiah.” The oratorio will take place Sunday, Dec. 3 at 4 p.m. on campus in historically and acoustically rich Ogden Hall.
“It is quite a dramatic work because it has a large scale orchestra and chorus,” said Hampton University Music Department Chair Dr. Shelia J. Maye. “We wanted students to have an exceptional experience that would challenge their talents and skills.”
Jerry A. Bracey, Hampton University Chamber Orchestra Director conducts the musicians, in collaboration with Hampton University Director of University Choir Omar Dickerson.
George Frideric Handel composed “Messiah” in 1741. Although Handel was German-born and an Italian opera composer, “Messiah” interestingly takes its words from what was then a contemporary English translation of the Bible, the King James authorized version. “Messiah” focuses on the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Tradition holds that Handel completed “Messiah” in just 24 days and that he saw all heaven before him, prompting him to finish the first manuscript with the words “Soli Deo Gloria” (Italian for “to God alone the glory”).
Hampton University first presented the masterpiece nearly 20 years ago. “Messiah” has since become a holiday tradition within the department of music.
With only one semester to prepare, Maye said the students get a challenge in preparing for the classic composition.
“I am always very excited about this,” said Maye. “I get to see how much our students have grown musically and see them challenged to do something that is hard, but that they could pull off.”