The Coffee County Arts Alliance and the Enterprise State Community College Division of Fine Arts are helping the community ring in the holiday season with the Wiregrass Community “Messiah” Sing-Along, a rendition of Handel’s great work.
The Wiregrass Community “Messiah” Sing-Along, under the direction and leadership of CCAA President and ESCC Division of Fine Arts Chair Dr. Ken Thomas, is a community sing-along event that includes featured soloists, orchestra and chorus to provide the core support. Soloists include community members and ESCC Fine Arts faculty and students. The Orchestra will include ESCC Fine Arts faculty and students, community members and members of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.
The event will also feature the talents of special guest soloist Dr. Rosephanye Powell, a world-renowned composer, educator and soprano.
“A performance of Handel’s ‘Messiah’ is always an exciting sign that the Christmas season has arrived,” Powell said. “It is a celebration of the love and hope that came through the birth of Jesus Christ. In the midst of COVID and the turmoil in our country, this live performance with students, faculty and community singers from all backgrounds and walks of life will be especially meaningful for me.
“This performance serves as a reminder that in essence we are all one race of people — the human race. May we come together to heal, unite and celebrate through Handel’s ‘Messiah.’”
Powell has been hailed as one of America’s premier female composers of choral music. She has an impressive catalogue of works published by leading national and international publishers, including the Hal Leonard Corporation, the Fred Bock Music Company/Gentry Publications, Oxford University Press, Alliance Music Publications and Shawnee. Powell currently serves as a professor of voice at Auburn University, where she teaches applied voice, art song literature, and vocal pedagogy courses. She also conducts the Women’s Chorus and co-conducts the AU Gospel Choir.
“It is an honor to have Dr. Rosephanye Powell participate in this joyous occasion,” Thomas said. “Dr. Powell was my voice teacher during my graduate studies at Auburn University. It is rare that our students and community members have an opportunity to perform with someone of Dr. Powell’s caliber. The College and community will be elevated to new heights through this collaboration.”
The Messiah is an English-language oratorio, or a large musical composition for orchestra, choir and soloists without action or scenery. It was composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible and from the Coverdale Psalter, the version of the Psalms included with the Book of Common Prayer. Jennens’ text is an extended reflection on Jesus as the Messiah called Christ. “Messiah” was first performed in Dublin on April 13, 1742, and it has since become one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music.
“This is our gift to the community, and what better way to bring the community together than with the music of Handel’s ‘Messiah,’” Thomas said. “We look forward to celebrating and rejoicing with the beautiful music.”
The Wiregrass Community “Messiah” Sing-Along will be held on Sunday, Dec. 5, at 4:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Enterprise. This is a free event for the community, but donations to the Coffee County Arts Alliance are appreciated.