Rehearsals to begin for ‘Messiah’ performance in Minot

Submitted Photo Members of the Heritage Singers, Voices of Note, Minot Chamber Chorale and other community singers present Handel’s “Messiah” during a past performance. Emerson Eads is director and DeVera Bowles, vocal coach and harpsichord. Photo from Rick Heit.

George F. Handel’s Christmas oratorio, “Messiah,” is a traditional part of the Minot community’s yearly Christmas celebration.

Last year’s performance was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This year’s presentation by the Heritage Singers, Voices of Note, Minot Chamber Chorale, Minot State University students and other community singers will be presented Sunday, Dec. 5, at 4 p.m. in Ann Nicole Nelson Hall on the MSU campus.

Rehearsals will be Sunday, Nov. 21, at 6 p.m. and Monday, Nov. 29, at 7:30 p.m., both in Ann Nicole Nelson Hall. Community people are welcome to join the choir.

All high school singers in the area are also invited to join the group, said Emerson Eads, “Messiah” director. “The Heritage Singers always provide music for all singers. High School music teachers bring your high school singers to sing with us,” Eads said.

Soloists wishing to audition for solos in the “Messiah” are asked to prepare an aria from Part 1 of the “Messiah.” An accompanist will be provided. Auditions will take place on Monday, Nov. 22, at 3 p.m. in 113 Old Main, MSU Campus.

Prior to the Dec. 5 concert will be a 1 p.m. orchestral rehearsal and 2 p.m. choral rehearsal.

For more information contact Emerson Eads at emerson.eads@minotstateu.edu or DeVera Bowles at DeVera.Bowles@minotstateu.edu.

Eads, director of choral activities at MSU, is director of the “Messiah” choir and orchestra, the latter comprised of members of the Minot Symphony Orchestra. Bowles, professor of voice at MSU, is vocal coach and harpsichord.

The free concert benefits MSU students’ scholarships.

“Heritage Singers have generously been supporting the John Strohm, Joe Hegstad, Ken and DeVera Bowles scholarships at Minot State University for many years with donations given for the free concert every year. The Heritage Singers provide scores to new singers, and an opportunity to sing on a wave of glorious choruses from ‘Messiah,'” said Eads.

“Messiah,” Handel’s most successful and best-known oratorio, was composed in 24 days in 1741, from Aug. 22 to Sept. 14. It first was performed at a concert given for charitable purpose in Dublin, Ireland, on April 13, 1742. Handel himself conducted the performance.

The first presentation of the “Messiah” at present-day Minot State University was given on Thursday evening, Dec. 19, 1929, by the 140-voice combined men’s and ladies’ glee clubs, according to The Minot Daily News files. Before 1929, E.S. Person, an early Minot resident, was instrumental in starting a production of “The Messiah” with the Minot Choral Club in 1908. For about 20 years the annual performance was held at the Jacobson Opera House once located on Central Avenue and Main Street.

The performance of the “Messiah” has continued throughout the years in the Minot community.

“When Ken and I moved to Minot in 1993, we were impressed with the sheer number of musical and theatrical groups in Minot’s close-knit arts community, said Bowles. “Over the years, we’ve been involved in annual ‘Messiah’ performances wearing many hats. There is a quiet joy in watching parents sing alongside their children, listening to solos offered by our friends, our students, and even our youngest son. The orchestra formed with our MSU colleagues, MSU students and community musicians plays ‘Messiah’ with an ease of musical gesture and expertise. We’ve benefitted from multiple conductors who bring it all together with very limited rehearsal! It is a tradition Minot treasures. I hope this year’s event will draw many from the area high schools and community. I know I’ll be there!”

David Norton and the Heritage Singers have been instrumental in nurturing and continuing to bring this ‘Messiah’ to the community year after year, Eads said.


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