Songs Strings and Steps presents Handel’s famous oratorio Messiah in Abbotsford on Saturday, Dec. 7.
The concert begins at 2 p.m. at Gateway Church (2884 Gladys Ave.). It features two choirs, soloists, and members of the Canada West Chamber Orchestra and the Abbotsford Youth Orchestra, led by concertmaster Calvin Dyck and conductor Gerry van Wyck.
The performance will combine a local Messiah Project Ensemble under the direction of Joel Tranquilla, along with the Pacific Spirit Choir from West Vancouver, to form a chorus of 110 singers.
They will be joined by soprano soloist Alison Nystrom, who is on faculty at Trinity Western University.
She is noted for her exceptional expressiveness in performance and has sung across North America and Europe.
The alto solos will be sung by counter-tenor Erik Kallo.
Originally from Hungary, Kallo discovered his love of music at the Langley Fine Arts School and trained in the opera program at UBC and at the Royal College of Music in London, England.
Kallo currently sings at the Holy Trinity Church in London, England.
Tenor soloist Kaden Forsberg has degrees from the King’s University in Edmonton and the University of Victoria, where he studied with Benjamin Butterfield.
He has had numerous roles in opera, and recently performed the title role in Opera McGill’s production of La Clemenza di Tito.
Bass soloist Stephen Duncan is an up-and-coming singer from the Fraser Valley. He recently returned from his first professional opera tour with Jeunesses Musicales Canada, where he sang the role of Count Almaviva in Mozart’s the Marriage of Figaro throughout Eastern Canada.
At age 52, George Frederik Handel suffered a stroke which incapacitated him, making it impossible for him to perform or conduct. He also complained of blurred vision.
Because he was not a wise businessman, he lost a fortune in the opera business and, depressed and in debt, gave it up in 1740. It was only shortly after these calamities in Handel’s life that he was presented with a libretto composed by Charles Jennens.
Composed entirely of Scripture portions, Handel was so inspired that he wrote the whole two-and-a-half-hour oratorio in only 24 days.
When he got to the Hallelujah chorus, his assistant found him in tears saying, “I did think I saw heaven open, and I saw the very face of God.”
This remarkable work has become a favourite with audiences around the world, and, although initially intended to be performed at Easter, it is a popular Christmas tradition performed thousands of times a year around the world.
Tickets are available at King’s Music, House of James and online at eventbrite.ca. Visit calvindyck.com for more information.