Choir’s sing-along Messiah a feat of musical multi-tasking

NANAIMO – Conductor leads singers, orchestra and audience in song

Bruce Farquharson, the Malaspina Choir’s musical director, will be performing a feat of musical multi-tasking for the choir’s fourth annual Sing-along Messiah.

Not only will he be conducting the choir and the four soloists, but also the singers in the audience as well as the musicians of the Nanaimo Chamber Orchestra.

The performance of Handel’s beloved oratorio takes place Dec. 15, 2:30 p.m., at St. Andrew’s United Church.

Fortunately Farquharson is no stranger to conducting, having led the Nanaimo Concert Band and the Nanaimo Chamber Orchestra, where he has also been a cellist.

Last summer he studied symphonic conducting at the International Conducting Institute in the Czech Republic, where he conducted the Bohuslav Martinu Orchestra that has made several recordings and toured the major centres of Europe.

“I am greatly looking forward to conducting my fellow musicians in the NCO and to providing the soloists with a sound – no pun intended – basis for delivering their arias,” he said.

“This is such a well-known work which is so frequently performed that the challenge is to make it fresh, to give it vitality – to make it breathe and dance.”

Guest soloists for this year’s performance are Andrea Rodall, soprano, Erin Ronningen, mezzo-soprano, Andrew Erasmus, bass, and David Brown, tenor.

A Sing-along Messiah is different from the usual choral concert. Instead of being on stage, the 40 members of the Malaspina Choir will be seated in the audience.

Specially-designed placards will indicate where the different voices should sit. And if you don’t have the music, copies of the score can be purchased for $10.

As is the Christmas tradition, partial proceeds from the concert will be shared with a local charity. This year it’s the Nanaimo Child Development Centre.

Proceeds from the sale of the scores, which are being provided at a discount by local music store Long and McQuade, will also go to the child development centre.

Tickets are $20; $15/students; $5/EyeGo program; free/children under 12 and available at the Port Theatre by calling 250-754-8550.