Tabor to continue tradition with Dec. 4 performance of ?Messiah?

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. 4

The production, featuring the Tabor College Concert Choir, Alumni Chorus and Tabor?s Community Orchestra, will be at 7 p.m. in the Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church, 300 Prairie Pointe. Admission is free and open to the public.

Bradley Vogel, professor of choral music, will be conducting ?Messiah? for his 14th year at Tabor.

?For many, it serves as the beginning of the Christmas holiday season,? Vogel said of the performance tradition that dates back nearly a half century in Tabor?s history. ?It brings the college and Hillsboro communities together to celebrate such an important spiritual event.?

Vogel said part of his enjoyment of performing ?Messiah? is the way it is collaborated by so many performers on various 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 be graced by professional instrumentalists, many of whom return to perform with Tabor every 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 entire piece in only three weeks, and it was performed in what Handel described as a ?hall of 600,? but more than 700 attended, according to Vogel.

?The anticipated attendance was indeed large,? Vogel said of that first performance. ?Local newspapers published a request that ?ladies of the audience should not wear hooped dresses, nor the men swords.??

Vogel said ?Messiah? is annually one of the best-attended concerts the music department presents.

?It?s great music,? he said, ?and doing it well also speaks well of our musical tradition.?

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