Sounds of Handel’s ‘Messiah’ will fill the Old Whaling Church

A performance of Handel's "Messiah" by Grace Church choir and musical guests comes to the Old Whaling Church Dec. 16. — File Photo


The uplifting sounds of Handel’s “Messiah” will fill Edgartown’s Old Whaling Church on Saturday, Dec. 16, beginning at 8 pm as the Grace Church choir and musical friends from throughout the community perform the familiar Christmas oratorio.

This will mark the second performance since Jim Norton, a Grace Church choir member and “Messiah” devotee, sought to revive this longtime Island musical tradition. “Messiah Part I” (the Christmas section) had been performed first at Grace Church in 1975, and at a variety of churches every year thereafter, featuring a constantly growing chorus. Audiences were large and enthusiastic, filling the seats for two performances each December. The annual concerts ended around 2000.

Mr. Norton enlisted the willing assistance of Grace Church organist and choir director Wes Nagy to organize the 2016 event, bringing together a large number of community singers and musicians enthusiastic about performing the great music again.

Instrumentalists will include piano accompanist Griffin McMahon, organist and choirmaster at St. Andrew’s Church; Jan Hyer, cello; and violins Rebecca Laird and Liz Henderson, along with others.

Last year’s well-received concert was offered in memory of Father Brian Murdoch, priest in charge at Grace Church, who had died unexpectedly that October.

On Dec. 16, Mr. Nagy will conduct a chorus of some 30 singers. Soloists include sopranos Molly Conole, Jennifer Knight, and Becky Williams; alto Martha Hudson; tenor Dorian Lopes; and basses Jim Norton and Buck Reidy.

Suggested donation is $15. Mr. Norton emphasized that all are welcome to enjoy the Yuletide music, and no one will be turned away for not paying.

For more information call Jim Norton at 508-693-2573 or 508-693-3091, or Grace Church at 508-693-0332.