Cochrane's music lovers are invited to spend the evening on Dec. 10 with Bow Valley Chorus to hear their rendition of George Fredrick Handel's Messiah.
The concert will commence at 8 p.m. in the Bow Valley Baptist Church. Tickets range from $35 for adults to $15 for children 12 and under.
As their main drawing card, the chorus is touting that this performance will be the only large-scale rendition of Messiah in the greater Calgary area this holiday season.
Bow Valley Chorus founder and music director, John Goulart, said the chorus performs regularly in Cochrane, Banff, Canmore, and Calgary. He said he is familiar with Handel's work and has been performing it since 2001.
“I’m very close to Handel's Messiah,” Goulart said. “This is going to be about my 18th time performing that concert at one point or another.”
George Fredrick Handel was a famous German-British Baroque era composer. He wrote Messiah, which was the first piece of oratorio and created a new genre of music.
“In Handel's case, he actually took some scripture and he had a very close friend who wrote the text of the Messiah, then Handel himself set it to music,” Goulart said. “By doing so, he wrote it for chorus, orchestra, and soloists.”
Goulart explained that in Handel's time, opera was the only other option that composers could write large scale works for, but Oratorio created a new concert experience with soloists, an orchestra, and a chorus.
“While opera was staged, oratorio was not,” Goulart said. “Oratorio was like a concert experience where everyone sort-of stood and performed, [whereas] opera had to do with costumes, staging, plot, and character development.”
There will be approximately 50 people in the chorus and 18 professional freelance musicians in the orchestra from Calgary. Calgarian soloists Lauren Woods, Kassandra Schantz, Steven Morton, and Paul Grindlay will be featured as the soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, and bass, respectively.
Although the original piece is close to three hours long, Goulart said Bow Valley Chorus’ rendition has been trimmed down to an hour and 20 minutes to make it more digestible for the audience. However, he promises it still preserves the solos and famous choruses.
“Emotionally, it’s a very beautiful work and people will love to listen to the music as well as the theme,” Goulart said. “If you are religious, it certainly is something that you should experience at some point in your life – to hear how the life of Christ is set to the music.”
Tickets can be purchased at brownpapertickets.com or at the door on the evening of the concert.