Audience members invited to sing along during Messiah show

NANAIMO – The Malaspina Choir raises money for the Child Development Centre during upcoming concert.

By Kathryn-Jane Hazel

Hearing the music of Handel’s beloved oratorio, Messiah, brings back many fond childhood memories for Malaspina Choir’s artistic director Garry Froese.

That’s why he looks forward to conducting the choir, along with the Nanaimo Chamber Orchestra, a quartet of soloists and the audience during Sing-along Messiah. This third annual Sing-along Messiah, which is now a Nanaimo Christmas tradition, will be held at St. Andrew’s United Church, located at 311 Fitzwilliam, 2:30 p.m., Sunday (Dec. 16).

Guest soloists include Vancouver Island soprano Andrea Sicotte Rodall, mezzo-soprano  Erin Ronningen, tenor David Brown and bass Stephen Barradell.

Froese was introduced to the choruses of G. F. Handel by his brother, 14 years his senior, as he was preparing to sing in an oratorio during his studies at a bible school.

“I found the long ornamental runs sung on one syllable to be absolutely fascinating and couldn’t wait to have the opportunity to sing those myself,” he said. “Many of us will have our own stories about the first time we heard or sang Handel’s Messiah.

“This work has endured the test of time, and still fascinates singers today, as is evident by the number of audiences that enjoy sing-a-long performances throughout Canada.”

The arrangements for a sing-along Messiah are a little bit more complicated than those for a regular performance.

The 50 members of the choir will be seated in the audience to help lead the singing of the selected choruses and listen to the solo arias sung by the vocalists.

Choir members will hold up placards to indicate where the different voices should sit. And if people don’t have the music, copies of the score can be purchased for $10.

The Malaspina Choir’s Christmas concert supports local charities. This year a portion of the proceeds, as well as the money raised by selling the music scores, will go to the Nanaimo Child Development Centre.

Tickets are $20 for adults/$15 students/ $5 eyeGO and are available from the Port Theatre box office, by calling 250-754-8550, online at, or at the door.

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