Posted on December 15, 2009 by Michael
MOS will soon hold its 4th Annual Messiah Sing-Along and the approaching event has caused me to think a bit about this whole experience of a Sing-Along Messiah. I conducted several of these Sing-Alongs back in the 1980s, but hadn’t done another one until The Michael O’Neal Singers began its version several years ago. From what I’ve been able to discover, the concept of a Messiah Sing-Along caught on in the USA in the late 1960s and early 1970s . Certainly there have been really BIG performances of Messiah dating back to the early and mid nineteenth century, but these took place primarily in England. Those Brits loved big choral societies and they really adored singing Messiah with big choirs and big orchestras! I think there were even some performances with a thousand singers or more. There were also unrehearsed performances where the audience served as the chorus, and in Great Britain these were called “scratch Messiahs,” as in cooking from scratch.
The Messiah Sing-Along has now become a very popular event in many American communities, and especially during the Christmas Season there will be hundreds of these celebrations. What makes them so popular? I have several thoughts as to why that might be. One is that Handel’s “Messiah” is a work that most choral singers have performed. Another is that during the Holiday Season a Sing-Along provides a wonderful shared experience, whether one particpates as an individual or as part of a group. And finally, I suggest that people enjoy participating in Messiah Sing-Alongs just because they are fun!
So, what do you think?
Filed under: Choral experiences | Tagged: Handel, Messiah, Michael O'Neal, MOS, Sing-along, The Michael O'Neal Singers | 2 Comments »
Posted on December 7, 2009 by Michael
The Michael O’Neal Singers (MOS) just perfomed its Christmas Concert for an audience of 1000. Joining us in our performance was the Georgia Regional Girls Choir (GRGC), a wonderful ensemble consisting of elementary through high school students. In addition to an audience sing along and several individual pieces, the program consisted primarily of two extended works: Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols, performed by GRGC and Antonio Vivaldi’s Gloria, performed by MOS. These are two of my favorite ”Christmas” pieces and each ensemble sang its respective selection splendidly. In a world filled with so much noise that passes as music during this holiday season, it is refreshing to know there are still people who want to sing (and hear) music by composers such as Britten and Vivaldi. Some of my other favorite holiday “big” works are Hodie by Ralph Vaughan Williams, Christmas Oratorio and Magnificat by J.S. Bach, and Laud to the Nativity by Ottavio Respighi.
I’m always interested in hearing what other people enjoy singing and hearing. It helps me as I plan future concerts! So why not share some of your favorite extended (15 minutes or longer) Christmas choral selections? Who knows? You might find your favorite included in a future MOS concert!
Filed under: Choral experiences, choral masterworks, Collaboration | Tagged: Bach, Britten, Ceremony of Carols, Georgia Regional Girls Choir, Gloria, GRGC, Hodie vaughan williams, Laud to the Nativity Respighi, MOS, The Michael O'Neal Singers, Vivaldi | 4 Comments »