Tabor College’s long-standing Christmas tradition of performing “Messiah”—the 18th-century work by George Fredrick Handel about the anticipation and impact of Jesus Christ—will continue Sunday, Dec. 2 with a performance by the Tabor College Oratorio Chorus, Alumni Chorus and Tabor’s Community Orchestra.
The production will begin at 7 p.m. at the Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church, 300 Prairie Pointe. It will begin at 7 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.
Bradley Vogel, professor of choral music, will be conducting “Messiah” for his 15th time at Tabor.
“For many, it serves as the beginning of the Christmas holiday season,” Vogel said of the performance tradition that dates back more than a half-century in Tabor’s history.
Vogel said part of his enjoyment of performing “Messiah” is the collaboration by so many performers on many different professional levels.
“It’s a focal point that brings current and past choir members together,” he said, “and I very much enjoy maintaining that connection with alums. I’m honored that they enjoy it enough to return and continue to sing.”
Additionally, the stage will include professional instrumentalists, many of whom return to perform with Tabor each December.
“The community orchestra is comprised primarily of members of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra and the Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony Orchestra,” Vogel said. “The majority of the musicians have played for Tabor for many years, which gives us a solid core.
“Messiah” premiered in Dublin, Ireland, in 1742 as a benefit concert for local charities. Handel composed the piece in three weeks, and it was performed in what Handel described as a “hall of 600,” but more than 700 attended, according to Vogel.
“We enjoy and are honored to provide this performance as the beginning of the Christmas season for the Hillsboro and Tabor community,” he said.