Tabor College’s long-standing Christmas tradition of performing “Messiah”—the 18th-century work by George Frideric Handel about the prophecy and life of Jesus Christ—will continue at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 7 with a performance by the Tabor College Oratorio Chorus and Community Orchestra.
The performance will be at the Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church, 300 Prairie Pointe, in Hillsboro. Admission is free and open to the public.
Dr. Bradley Vogel, professor of choral music, will be conducting “Messiah” for his 17th 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 books.
Vogel noted that part of his enjoyment of conducting “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.”
Featured as soloists in this year’s performance are current students: Faith Tonne, junior from Ashland, Kan.; Olivia Kliewer, junior from Hillsboro, Kan.; Heather Loewen, sophomore from Hutchinson, Kan.; Trevor Morris, senior from Murdock, Kan.; and Sara Sagner, senior from Cheney, Kan. Faculty members performing solos are Janie Brokenicky, David Martens and Holly Swartzendruber, along with alumni Glenn Litke.
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. The majority of the musicians have played for Tabor for many years, which gives us a solid core,” Vogel said.
“Messiah” premiered at noon on April 13, 1742 in the New Music Hall on Fishamble Street in Dublin, Ireland, as a benefit concert for local charities. Handel composed the entire piece in only 24 days.
The annual performance of “Messiah” is a community tradition and signals the start of the Christmas celebration for many.
“We enjoy and are honored to provide this performance as the beginning of the Christmas season for the Hillsboro and Tabor community.”