High school choir students perform in Billings at the Messiah Festival


  Eight Terry High School choir students participated in the Messiah Festival over the weekend. Accompanying the students were Barb Rittal and music instructor JoDee Hess.   The singers rehearsed on Saturday, Dec. 1 with a large mass choir that sings 7 of the choruses from Handel’s Messiah. The choir sings with a small orchestra, which would have resembled the size of orchestra that George Fredrick Handel would have had available when he wrote the oratorio.  

An oratorio is like an opera, but is un-staged and there is no spoken dialog. 
The singers then rehearsed again on Sunday and we then performed the Messiah at 3:30 at the Alberta Bair Theater.   There were about 120 singers, which contrasted nicely with the orchestra and the four soloists.  
The soloists were Soprano Amie Timpson (Salt Lake City), Alto Mary Ryan (Billings), Baritone Cory Schantz (Sioux Falls), and Tenor Brigham Timpson (Chicago).  
The almost full audience at this free concert was appreciative of the performance that serves as a fundraiser for St. Vincent Healthcare Foundations Meadowlark House. Funds are raised from a free-will offering in the middle of the performance during a Pastorale played by the orchestra, and by an online auction of local artist’s works.  
Meadowlark House includes two duplexes that are used to house cancer patients from around the state that must stay in Billings for treatment.  A family is allowed to stay at Meadowlark House for 29 days, and then a new family moves in.  There have been numerous businesses and volunteers that help to keep the Meadowlark House clean and neat, and the families’ in-tune to what is happening in the Meadowlark school community. It costs the St. Vincent Foundation about $860 per month to keep the Meadowlark House duplexes open.  
“We are so happy to be allowed to go to Billings for a great experience and a helpful community service project for people from our area,” said Hess in an email. “ As an added bonus, we get to work on some of the best Classical Music by a master composer.”   Students who participated this year were: Exelee Lacquement, Deanna Loomis, Katelynn Mendenhall, Maxine Maue, Connor Self, Austin Smith, Travis Shannon, and Zakery Gierke.  
“It is so exhilarating to look out at the audience and see the smiling faces and the excitement of the music,” Hess said.   “The thrill of watching the entire room stand at the singing of the Hallelujah Chorus gives a person goose-bumps.”  

Published Dec. 5, 2012

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