by Vanessa Skelton
The North Grenville Concert Choir is presenting once again this year the traditional Christmas performance of Messiah, with the famous Hallelujah chorus. The perennial favourite has been around since 1742, and is probably more popular today than it was 200 years ago. It was composed by George Frideric Handel and first performed in Dublin. Although it was initially performed for the Easter season, it is now a regular Christmas tradition. The North Grenville Concert Choir has performed Handel’s Messiah fourteen times in the past twenty years, but it remains a favourite with audiences and choir members alike. The choir is filled with familiar faces, with some choir members having performed this piece numerous times. For other members, this is their first time to sing this wonderful oratorio. The choir has 46 singers this year, who work together under the direction of Phillip Konopka every Monday evening to produce a melodious combination of voices. Rehearsal with Phillip is as entertaining as the performance, since he keeps the choir on a positive note with his ingenious analogies such as: “the music must flow like molasses down the staircase”, or “approach the note as a boat floats to the top of the lock on the Rideau Canal”. Who wouldn’t have fun at rehearsals with such specific images to help the choir understand how to best produce the effect that Philip desires?
With varying degrees of musical experience, this truly is a community choir. Some choir members also sing in their church choirs, play musical instruments, or have performed with the Kemptville Players, the Kemptville Youth Musical Theatre, or other performance groups. You are sure to recognise someone in the choir. Accompanying the choir will be members of Ottawa’s Divertimento Orchestra, which is also a community musical group, based out of the Woodroffe United Church, under the direction of Gordon Slater.
Two performances will be held on December 8, at either 2 pm or 7:30 pm at St James Anglican Church in Kemptville, or on December 9, at 3 pm at Woodroffe United Church in Ottawa. Tickets are $20 and available on-line at ngcc.eventbrite.ca, at Brewed Awakenings, or at the door. For info: www.ngcc.net. Don’t miss your chance to see this fabulous concert locally!