Sooke Philharmonic brings Handel’s Messiah to the regional stage

Beloved holiday season classic to be performed in Sooke, Colwood and Sidney

In advance of the holiday season, the Sooke Philharmonic chamber players and chorus are performing George Frederic Handel’s glorious and sacred Messiah oratorio in three venues around Greater Victoria.

For the Messiah concerts, conductor and music director Nicholas Fairbank has also brought in members of Via Choralis, a Saanich-based community choir for which he is also music director.

“This collaboration of mixed choirs will provide audiences with a powerful musical experience, as some 75 voices soar upward, accompanied by an orchestra of 30 musicians,” he said.

The soloists for the performances – soprano Anna Shill, mezzo Alana Hayes, tenor Adam Dyjach and bass Nathan McDonald – are all rising professional music stars in the area.

Shill possesses artistry in spades and a delightful stage presence, while Hayes’ repertoire ranges from baroque to the avant garde. Dyjach has a Masters in Voice Performance from the University of Victoria and has performed both operatic and oratorio tenor roles, and McDonald, praised for his rich baritone, is a regular performer with numerous Western Canadian ensembles.

Messiah, one of the world’s most beloved classical music pieces and an intricate choral work, was composed by Handel in an astonishing three to four weeks in 1741. All three parts of the Messiah will be performed, including 20 solo and 19 chorister sections, ending with the beautiful Amen chorus.

These concerts are a family holiday tradition for many, and Messiah provides new and younger audiences a great introduction to classical music. Hearing such exceptional music from the past, played and sung with skill and obvious joy, often encourages young people to expand their musical interests and tastes and to begin a life-long appreciation of the classics.

As such, children and youth 18 and under are admitted free. Both afternoon and evening concerts are planned, making it easier for families to plan to attend these pre-holiday outings.

Concert schedule:

Colwood — Saturday Dec. 1, 7:30 pm, Royal Bay secondary, 3500 Ryder Hesjedal Way

Sooke — Sunday Dec. 2, 2:30 pm, Sooke Community Hall, 2037 Shields Rd.

Sidney — Sunday Dec. 16, 2:30 pm, St. Elizabeth’s Church, 10030 3rd Ave.

Ticket information at sookephil.ca and www.viachoralis.ca.

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