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HANDEL’S MESSIAH

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November 13, 2019
Experience what is sure to be a stirring holiday celebration on Saturday, December 7, 2019 at The Mendel Center Mainstage, 1100 Yore Ave., Benton Harbor, MI, when the combined forces of the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra (SMSO) and the Southwest Michigan Symphony Chorus (SMSC), plus a talented cast of soloists, perform the Christmas portion of Handel’s Messiah. The exceptional soloists include: soprano, Carrie VanDenburgh; mezzo-soprano, Rebecca Russcher; mezzo-soprano, Lorie Kraus; tenor; Andrew Fisher; bass, Armando Linares; and bass, Gary Cooper.
 
In 1950, Handel’s Messiah was the very first show performed by the newly formed St. Joseph and Benton Harbor symphony orchestra, now known as the SMSO. Considered a musical rite of the holiday season, George Frideric Handel's Baroque-era oratorio still awes the listener centuries after his death. Handel's Messiah was originally an Easter offering, but it is now a fixture during the Christmas season. The manuscript, which was 259 handwritten pages, was completed in only 24-days. From a modern perspective, this may seem to be a truly prodigious feat, but amazingly it was not atypical for Handel, who often wrote under the unforgiving deadlines of the opera season schedule. 
 
Messiah will be the last winter holiday performance for music director and conductor, Robin Fountain. “We’re so looking forward to performing selections from Handel’s great masterpiece ‘Messiah’,” Fountain said. “I cannot imagine more satisfying music to conduct, sing or play, and of course it’s a perennial audience favourite.”
 
This year marks the fourteenth and final season of Robin Fountain’s musical tenure in southwest Michigan, and his final concert will be Fountain’s Fabulous Finale on April 26, 2020. During his time with the SMSO, Fountain transformed the orchestra’s performance level, repertoire and scope and introduced new initiatives like the Summer Concert Series, a choral partnership with the Southwest Michigan Symphony Chorus, and instrumental music instruction for underprivileged and at-risk youth with the Music Makers Program.
You will not want to miss your chance to experience what is sure to be a stirring holiday celebration! This show will sell-out, so be sure to get your tickets early online at smso.org, or by contacting the SMSO office at 269-982-4030.
Sponsors of Handel’s Messiah include Wales & Associates; The Hanson Family Foundation; Meijer; Honor Credit Union; Classic Catering & Events; 103.7 COSY-FM; and NEWSTALK 94.9 WSJM. This program is supported in part by an award from the “Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs” and the “National Endowment Fund for the Arts”.
WHAT: HANDEL’S MESSIAH
WHEN: Saturday, December 7, 2019 at 7:30pm
WHERE: The Mendel Center Mainstage, 1100 Yore Ave., Benton Harbor, MI 49022
TICKETS: Purchase online at the SMSO office or online at www.smso.org
PRICE: $20 - $35; $5 Student