The Adelaide community choir members, Mormons and friends who gathered at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Firle Stake Centre to take part in a ‘Messiah-Sing’ enjoyed the experience so much that many have asked that it be held each year.
About 300 people attended the Sunday 3 April event organised in response to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s worldwide invitation for Handel’s Messiah enthusiasts to join in singing along with the choir’s broadcast performance of the beloved oratorio.
Members of four choirs – the Corinthian Singers, Choir Cecilia, Illumina and the Alexandrina Singers – took up the invitation extended to them locally by Adelaide LDS public affairs director Caroline McIlwaine. Boosted by a dozen or more LDS church members, the accomplished choristers delighted the audience by singing each of the choruses in unison with the Tabernacle Choir, whose Good Friday concert held at Salt Lake City, Utah, was shown on a large media screen.
For many, the appeal of the Messiah was not only the joy of music but also the faith-affirming lyrics that highlighted the life and mission of Jesus Christ.
“I would love to do it annually,” said Ruth Pryor of the Prospect Ward, who sang in the spontaneous choir.
“I just love it – and not only are we singing scripture, it is scripture about our Saviour and redeemer.”
Sheila Brown, of the Morialta Ward, also loved to sing but on this occasion she and her father, Ken Willoughby, went along to watch.
“I loved the evening! It was wonderful. I enjoyed listening to the live singers as much as the Tabernacle Choir. They added so much to the performance. It was a special spiritual experience for me and my dad.”
The youngest singers at the multi-Stake event were siblings Kira-Lee (19) and Isaac Chamings (17) of the Onkaparinga Ward.
“We actually went … not knowing what to expect, but when we walked in, we were told by a friend that singers should sit together on the left,” explained Kira-Lee.
“And I love to sing, so I thought we might as well sit with the singers. We didn’t have the music, but one of the lovely ladies behind us … lent us a copy. I was was pretty excited (because) I was part of a special interest music programme at high school, and we had learnt a couple of the Messiah songs in our choir. And Isaac is at the same school and is learning how to sight read music. It was so much fun, so uplifting, and we really enjoyed it!”
The Adelaide ‘Sing’ was one of many similar Messiah gatherings occurring in places as diverse as Romania and Lancashire, England. The opportunity finished on 5 April when the Tabernacle Choir’s concert – which was conducted by Mack Wilberg and featured the 360-member choir, the Orchestra at Temple Square and four soloists from the New York Metropolitan Opera – was no longer available via the internet.
According to some of the community singers who took part in Adelaide, post-Easter was the ideal time for them to participate.
“We can be tied up with our own concerts at Easter and Christmas, but I would love to join another ‘Messiah-Sing’ this time next year if you decide to hold it again,” said community chorister Sally Lightburn.
Members of the Multifaith Association of SA also attended and enjoyed the event.
Firle Stake President Rainer Korte, who oversaw the musical evening, said there were many highlights to the night.
“The music was inspiring, and so were the messages about Jesus Christ as the Messiah and redeemer of us all,” he said.
“But it also was wonderful to have the feeling of fellowship and inclusivity there.
“We we will certainly look at hosting a ‘Messiah-Sing’ again, given we are being asked by both our church members and our friends in the community.”
People who took part worldwide could share their experiences via the internet using the hashtag #MessiahLive.
The evening concluded with the Mormon.org Hallelujah! Easter video clip about the atonement of Jesus Christ. View the video here .
In the spirit of the first ever performance of Messiah – which was a benefit concert for the poor – people were invited to bring food items for donation to the St Vincent de Paul charity. As a result, about $700 worth of non-perishable food items were handed over to St Vinnies on Monday 4 April.