If you missed Handel’s Messiah tonight, performed by the Central United Methodist Church’s Chancel Choir with the NM Philharmonic Orchestra, David Felberg, Conductor, and soloists Cammy Cook, Soprano, Jacqueline Zander-Wal, Mezzo-soprano, Javier Gonzalez, Tenor and Ivan Conrad, Bass — not to worry, there is a second coming of the Messiah tomorrow afternoon, Sunday, December 9th, 3:00 pm at Central United Methodist Church, 201 University NE. If you live in the Albuquerque area, you really shouldn’t miss it — there will be tickets available at the door.
Before the concert began, members of the Albuquerque Girl’s Choir were singing in the hallway as people came in. Most of the girls were very young, and they didn’t have a director. They were all very cute, but as they tried to sing, especially with recorded music, they were so rhythmically challenged that they were difficult to listen to. After the Chancel Choir had warmed up, Jerrilyn Foster, the director of the Chancel Choir, came out and started directing the girls choir, which completely transformed them — they all of a sudden sounded good and were “in compás”. I think Jerri has a magic touch, because she takes all comers into the Chancel Choir and gets the best out of all the singers. She is really amazing.
Tonight’s performance was wonderful. Even though I’ve been listening to the choir practice every Wednesday night and Sunday afternoon, and to Laurie sing with her CD daily for months; and even though I sat through the rehearsal with the soloists Wednesday night and the dress rehearsal with the orchestra and soloists last night, tonight’s performance still sent chills up and down my spine and brought tears to my eyes — it also brought back memories of listening to the Messiah in a 15th Century Cathedral in Madrid, Spain in 1996. The cathedral was packed and we had to stand through the whole concert, but the sound and the atmosphere was so beautiful and mesmerizing, you felt like you where in the 18th century, and there wasn’t a dry eye in that old cathedral when the Hallelujah Chorus was sung. I had much of the same feeling listening to the Messiah this evening and I believe, like Handel, that we see Heaven before us and “the great God Himself” when we listen to great performances of the Messiah.