Handel’s Messiah is a Christmas tradition that fell by the wayside for me for a while. I first sang in a performance of the oratorio in the early 1990’s when i sang with a local, fairly high achieving, choir. We did it every other year for a while. Learning the part back then was tough, but has become a valued skill.
The last time I sang it with that group, I had a cold. We had a matinée and evening performance. I ate a pack and a half of Fisherman’s Friends to keep the vocal cords working. I sang my heart out right to the last Amen. The next morning, the voice was gone, it hurt to yawn. It took over a year to get better and when it was I had gained two lower notes and lost two or three in the upper range. I didn’t sing it again for more than a few years.
Then daughter J started taking violin lessons. Part of her training was to be part of the orchestra for an amateur Messiah to allow these students the experience of performance. If you are going to do the Messiah, you need a chorus, so, as almost an afterthought, folks were found to sing. I was invited and continued with the group for the next six years. Singers would come together to practice, theoretically, six times. Sometimes we would meet new basses on the night of the performance.
For a number of years, life got in the way.
We went to a performance last year at which I could barely keep myself from singing along. (the women on both sides of me made sure of it)
This year, I pushed life aside and went to a few practices. Many of the faces were the same as they were four years ago. We open our books and sing, with little or no time spent on notes. Its wonderful.
Last night was the performance. It was awesome. I came home with a very raw throat. We sang the Hallelujah Chorus as an encore, full-out, no holds barred.
Christmas is here!!.
I preached this morning with a bit of a gravelly voice.
Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Isaiah 40:1 (NRSV)