Do you remember the first time you heard Handel’s Messiah? Last Saturday afternoon we had the privilege of presenting this masterpiece of baroque music to about 300 people, most of them under the age of 12. Pax Christi Chorale teamed up with the Gallery Choir of St. Mary Magdalene, along with four super stellar professional singers and a volunteer orchestra made up of veteran players and high school students, led by Larry Beckwith. I shared the conducting with Matthew Otto my assistant conductor. During one of the choruses, a tiny little girl came right up and stood beside me, holding a tiny teddy bear, and stared down the cellists.
Our idea is to let children hear live classical music without their parents being totally embarrassed when they express their excitement by jumping up and down and making some noise. (That’s my reaction when I hear this music too, but I’m an adult now and not allowed to jump up and down very much.) The success of the event can partially be measured by the fact that it actually happened for the second year in a row, and we’re getting the word out and people came. I have to give credit to Laura Adlers for setting up an interview with Alexa at Classical 96 FM radio. Several of the parents at the concert said they “heard me on the radio” and came because of that interview, which was played several times just before the concert. So, thank you Alexa and 96FM for getting the word out and bringing classical music to the next generation.
On Sunday of the same weekend good old SMM choirs sang “Evensong, Carols and Benediction.” It was a very beautiful service, and I have to thank the choir, and my friend at the organ console for improvising so effectively. By some miracle the snow held off – that’s a first. For the three previous years that particular service has been accompanied by a raging snow storm.