A performance of Handel’s famous “Messiah” is a yearly tradition in many towns. Following one such performance, Dr. Kenneth Tice, chairman of the Mount Marty Music Department and Director of Choral Activities, was inspired to try and bring the tradition back to Yankton.
“It’s one of those holiday traditions that people really enjoy being a part of,” Tice said. “I was at the Sioux Falls Orchestra performance last December and I thought this could be a wonderful community building event. This is an opportunity for (MMC) to reach out and provide a musical event that people don’t just come and watch but actually be a participant in.”
The “Messiah Sing” is set to be held at Yankton’s United Church of Christ at 4 p.m. on Sunday, beginning with a short “rehearsal.” Scores will be available for rent or purchase, but otherwise the event is free. Soloists include: Lacadia Christiensen (Viborg), soprano; Anna Kolasch (Whittemore, Iowa), mezzo-soprano; Billy Danner (Sioux City), tenor; Jared Mogen (Vermillion), bass-baritone.
This year’s performance became possible thanks to a grant from MMC’s Gregorian Club.
Tice said the performance makes those in attendance an equal part of the show to the choir and orchestra.
“The crux behind this event is the audience becomes the choir,” he said. “Once they’re settled in, we’ll sing through the entire Messiah ‘Part the First’ and the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ to help us get started on the Advent Season.”
He added the show used to be a tradition in Yankton, but was unsure of when it stopped.
“This used to be a tradition in town many years ago,” he said. “But for whatever reason, the folks that organized it just stopped doing it. I’ve seen a couple mentions in the paper of it happening in other communities around here, so I know it’s popular in the area. I thought it would be a good time to get it started again in Yankton.”
Tice said he hopes this year’s event will help boost the local music community as well as revamp a yearly tradition that Yankton had lost.
“There’s wonderful arts going on here,” Tice said. “I hope this is the beginning of a long and fruitful annual tradition. We hope that people will start asking, ‘Can I audition for you and sing the solos next year?’ It would be great if we could get more community folks involved in the actual performing side of it and not just in the congregation singing. I’m very excited about getting this first year off the ground and seeing where it goes.”