Williamsport Music Club to host performance of Handel’s ‘Messiah’ at Pine Street UMC

Regarded as the greatest music ever written with texts taken from the Bible, Handel’s most recognizable work, the oratorio “Messiah,” will be presented and hosted by the Williamsport Music Club at 3 p.m. Jan. 6 in the Pine Street United Methodist Church, 441 Pine Street.

The “Messiah,” a highlight of the Christmas season around the world, will be directed by Kent Weaver, director of choirs at Williamsport Area High School. The oratorio will be accompanied by a chamber orchestra, feature guest soloists presenting selected recitatives and arias, and will include singers from the audience who wish to join other voices in recreating music’s most powerful message of faith.

The event will be the third annual sing-along presented by the Williamsport Music Club. Individuals, church choirs and school groups are welcome, and all those who just wish to come and hear some of the best known and most frequently performed work in Western music.

Composed in 1741 by George Frederic Handel, the “Messiah” is presented each year all over the world.

The program will consist of selections from all three parts of the oratorio. A limited amount of vocal scores will be available for loan at the event. The entire score can be downloaded to iPads by going to www.scribd.com/doc/256875456/Handel-Messiah-Schirmer-1912-Bars-Piano-Vocal.

An alumnus of Williamsport Area High School, Kent Weaver was appointed to the position of Director of Choirs at Williamsport High School in 1990. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from Westminster Choir College and a Master of Music degree in conducting from The Ohio State University.

Weaver’s professional vocal experience includes both operatic and oratorio roles, such as: Yakuside in Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly,” at the Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds, Charleston, South Carolina, and Spoleto, Italy; the Count in Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro” with the Delaware Valley Opera; soloist with the Woodstock Symphony Orchestra and at the Inernational Heinrich Schutz Festival in Princeton, New Jersey. He can be heard in the role of Thidias in the Grammy Award-winning recording of Samuel Barber’s “Anthony and Cleopatra.” Weaver has also been seen in many productions in and around the Williamsport area.

Weaver’s professional conducting experience includes: Artistic Director and Conductor of the Williamsport Chamber Choir and Orchestra, Chorus Master at Opera Columbus, Artistic Director and Conductor of the Columbus Chamber Singers and guest conductor with the Ballet Met in Columbus, Ohio.

Choirs under Weaver’s leadership have performed at numerous state, regional and national conventions, such as: the Pennsylvania Music Educators Convention, Music Educators National Conference Eastern Division Conventions. Weaver and members of the WAHS Choirs have also had the distinction of being invited to perform at the White House for four administrations. He continues to conduct festival choruses, clinics and workshops in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and New York.

The Chamber Orchestra consists of John Paul Tobin, Kenneth Sarch and Sarah Hamm on violin I; Cassie Harrison, Emilie Tupper and Lora Boll on violin II; Ashley Tobin and Megan Wike on viola; Rachael Boll on cello; Benjamin Byham on bass; Christopher Hare on trumpet; and Parker Konkle on harpsichord.

The soloists, in order of performance, are: Ryan Workman, Harry Claude Baum, Lucy Henry, Sarah Decker, Eileen Wylie, Leatha Kieser, Maria Weaver, Richard Weston, Sara Scott and Nathan Fulkerson.

Doors will open to the public at 2:30 p.m. and the event will run from 3 to 5 p.m. Tickets are available at the door or at Robert M. Sides Family Music Store.