Cedarville University orchestra and choirs perform

Cedarville University celebrates Easter with Handel's "Messiah"

by Natalia Kirychuk, Public Relations Writer


Handel’s “Messiah” has been hailed as one of the greatest pieces of music to ever proclaim God’s glory and triumph. On March 27, the Cedarville University Orchestra will join with the combined choirs of Concert Chorale, Men’s Glee Club and Women’s Choir to perform parts II and III of Handel's world-famous work, just in time for Easter. The Masterworks concert will take place in the Jeremiah Chapel in the Dixon Ministry Center at 7 p.m. and is open to the public.

Handel’s Messiah was composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens. Messiah tells the story of Jesus in three parts: his birth, death and resurrection. The Masterworks chorus and orchestra will perform the second and third parts.

“The Masterworks concert allows our students to sing and play great choral and orchestral literature from the body of classical music,” said Beth Porter, chair of the music department and a soloist for the event. “These works have stood the test of time and stand as important musical pillars. Performing these great works is an amazing educational opportunity for our student performers.”

Maestro Peter Stafford Wilson, music director of Ohio’s Springfield Symphony Orchestra, will conduct. Wilson has been a longtime friend of the Cedarville University music department, having conducted on numerous occasions. Soloists will include Porter, soprano; studio instructor Crystal Behan, mezzo-soprano; associate professor of music Mark Spencer, baritone; and Kent State University assistant professor of voice Timothy Culver, tenor.

“I am excited to get the opportunity to perform this important piece of music literature,” said Brian Campbell, junior music education major from Senegal, West Africa, who will play piano accompanying the Men’s Glee Club. “I am thankful for the opportunity to give my talents back to God by worshiping him through Handel's God-glorifying creativity. I hope the audience gets a sense of the grandeur and joyful seriousness of God's plan of redemption as portrayed through Handel's music.”

“I am looking forward to many musicians coming together to perform difficult music,” said Kaitlin Kohler, sophomore vocal performance major from Elyria, Ohio, who will perform in the concert chorale. “After many challenging rehearsals, it will be a triumph to perform and will bring glory to God. I would love the audience to appreciate the intricacy of Baroque music. Handel is truly a master of fugue, and it is quite beautiful.”

“I'm most excited about performing with such a large number of other students, especially since we are performing with the incredible orchestra,” said Brianna Bence, freshman marketing major from Grottoes, Virginia, who will sing with concert chorale. “The sound of all the voices and instruments performing such a great selection of music is going to be amazing. I want the audience to be able to understand the incredible message of the gospel that is so evident in the pieces we are singing. The text applies to everyone and is filled with truth and hope.”

The ticket prices are $10 general admission, $5 for students and seniors and free for children under 12.

“This piece clearly tells the powerful story of Jesus Christ, the Messiah,” said Porter. “Handel's music illuminates the Scriptures that are sung and brings them to life in a unique way. Music has the ability to elevate truth, and Handel's “Messiah” does this beautifully. Our performance is just a few days before we celebrate Easter. It is a perfect prelude to Resurrection Sunday.”

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,963 undergraduate, graduate and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and leading student satisfaction ratings. For more information about the University, visit www.cedarville.edu.