Saturday April 19, 2014





Community orchestra, chorus celebrate Christmas with Handel's Messiah

photo courtesy Roman Gehring

This weekend's concert by the Thompson Valley Community Orchestra and Chorus includes a solo by soprano Carlene Wiebe.

It is one of the most popular and enduring oratorios ever created. Countless orchestras and choirs have performed its melodic notes and sung its famous Hallelujah chorus year after year for nearly three centuries.

And audiences can't get enough of it.

This weekend, Thompson Valley Community Orchestra and Chorus present highlights from the ever-popular Handel's Messiah with two concerts at Calvary Community Church — 7 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday.

"We've got a fabulous group of about 90 singers right now," said TVCO's music director Norris Berg.

"So it should be a really exciting concert."

The chorus and orchestra wrapped up rehearsals on Monday.

They had practiced the oratorio since October under the direction of Berg and choral director Kelvin Barlow, fine-tuning the tenor, alto, bass and soprano parts, along with the solos.

"I think it's going to be quite and impressive thing," said Berg, who added that the chorus had no difficulty recruiting singers for the concert.

"The choir just came out of the woodwork. As soon as you mention Messiah, people want to be a part of it. And we've got some really outstanding singers in the group."

The two-part concert will feature popular Christmas selections for the first half, accounting for about 40 minutes of music and singing. There will be an intermission, and then the orchestra and chorus will begin selections from Handel's Messiah.

"The music is very beautiful and the soloists have beautiful arias to sing," Berg added.

Those soloists include soprano Carlene Wiebe, alto Theresa Takacs, tenor John Franks and bass vocalists Phil Heal and Jim Floris.

TVCO typically attracts up to 600 people to its seasonal concert. The count could soar higher with Messiah on the program.

Admission is $10 for adults, $5 children or $25 for a family.

This marks the beginning of Thompson Valley Community Orchestra's 17th season. In March, the orchestra presents Percussion Magic, featuring guest performer Helge Muller.

The orchestra is also planning a concert later in the season, titled A Night at The Proms, featuring the music of ABBA.





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